There are Two Wart Treatments That Work and a Whole Lot of Others That Don’t. 


Besides Surgical Wart Removal and treatments all other treatments work little better than no treatment at all.

Sounds hard to believe but this is a conclusion of Cochrane a non-for-profit that conducts reviews of medical treatments.  Thy give an unbiased information to governments and consumer to let them know what works and what doesn’t. 

They published a wart treatment review article in 2012.  They analyzed results from dozens of high-quality studies on wart treatment and wart removal.  They concluded that we don’t have non-surgical treatment that works much better than no treatment at all.  They gavefreezing wart, which is the most popular treatment doesn’t work.  Overall, trials comparing cryotherapy (freezing) with placebo showed no significant difference in effectiveness,”  Below I will discuss the main types of wart treatment you will find at the doctor’s office and over the counter,  starting with freezing (cryotherapy).

Freezing (Cryotherapy) Gets An F

Freezing warts, has been proven in research studies to work no better than placebo because it rarely destroys the entire wart.  It certainly looks like something is happening,  The wart turns white and some skin blisters and sloughs off later.  However, warts behave like a tumor and if it isn’t totally destroyed then it grows right back.

When you freeze warts harder, it works a little better.  However this causes more pain and scarring so it usually isn’t done. In dermatology, there is a popular saying: “you can’t take the ‘cry’ out of cryotherapy.” It hurts during and even after the treatment.  Howver if it didn’t hurt, it probably wasn’t done hard enought to work. Children it is not a child friendly way to remove warts.

Because it hurts, it is not the best treatment for sensitive areas like, it is not recommended for periungal warts (warts around the nail), palmar warts (warts on the palm), plantar warts (warts on the bottom of the foot) and warts on the face.

For more information on freezing warts, check out our blog post ]

, and there is the raw skin and blistering to care for afterward. 


Many home remedies, with the exception of taking a soldering iron to your wart (not recommended), do not destroy the entire wart and, therefore, are ineffective. The only home remedy that has been studied is duct tape, which was found to works no better than placebo (no treatment). Despite their seemingly nonexistent efficacy rates, home remedies do have one upside, they make you feel like you are doing something


Receiving a shot of local anesthetic and then burning/cutting/scraping the wart off does work well but can leave permanent scars. Surgical wart removal can only be done in a small number of cases and is usually too painful for children. Surgical removal is usually avoided for the face, fingers, and toes due to pain and risk of scarring. Following surgical wart removal healing time and would care must also be considered.


Salicylic acid is the only medication ever FDA-approved for warts and it is available over-the-counter.

At best, OTC medications for warts work slightly better than placebo and takes about three months for even this modest success rate.

Currently, there are three FDA-approved medications for genital warts which are sometimes prescribed for non-genital warts. The results are not not impressive and they take months to work.  This is why wart treatment is mostly done with freezing and other procedures. Because these procedures work so poorly, are painful, and come with downtime, they are of very limited use.