Salicylic Acid/Topical Treatment
Topical, prescription-strength wart medications containing salicylic acid work by removing layers of the wart a little bit at a time, and the salicylic medication is applied regularly. Studies show that salicylic acid is more effective when combined with freezing treatment (cryotherapy) so your doctor might recommend cryotherapy as well.
This treatment can be painful and take weeks. It destroys the wart by freezing it with liquid nitrogen. Cryotherapy causes a blister to form around the wart. When the blister peels off, all or part of the wart peels off. Cryotherapy may require repeat treatments every few weeks until the wart disappears in order to be effective. This treatment is said to work better if you follow it with a salicylic acid treatment after the area heals.
Your doctor might opt to shave the surface of the wart and apply bichloracetic acid or trichloroacetic acid. You’ll need to go back for repeat treatments every week or so. Common side effects include burning and stinging. Between visits, you may be instructed to use a salicylic acid topical as well.
Medications or solutions are used to stimulate your own immune system to fight viral warts. Your doctor might inject your warts with a foreign substance (antigen) or topically apply the antigen.
The warts are cut away using an electric needle. Since this procedure can be painful, your skin is numbed first. Surgery can cause scarring and isn’t typically used to treat plantar warts.
Laser surgery uses an intense beam of light, or laser, to burn and destroy the wart tissue. The evidence for the effectiveness of laser treatment is limited. It can also cause pain and scarring.