The 6 Best Wart Treatments of 2024

Warts are a type of noncancerous skin growth that are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are different types of warts, but they’re usually identified by their rough, grainy texture. While most common warts are harmless and go away on their own, wart treatments can help get rid of the pesky, dome-shaped bumps.

There are a slew of methods to treat warts, including at-home treatments and in-office procedures. Home treatments are applied topically and often contain a high concentration of salicylic acid, which effectively removes warts by peeling away layers of the skin. Others involve freezing warts, like cryotherapy performed in a doctor’s office.

To find the best wart treatments, we spoke with board-certified dermatologists who gave their expert recommendations and top tips on choosing. With their expert input, we researched dozens of wart treatments and evaluated them for attributes like active ingredients and ease of use. According to our research and dermatologist recommendations, these are the best wart treatments on the market.

Types of Wart Treatments

It’s important to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and guidance in choosing the most suitable wart removal method.

Common types of wart treatments include:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) topical treatments: These include gels, liquids, and patches that contain ingredients like salicylic acid.
  • Cryotherapy: This method involves using liquid nitrogen or a freezing spray to freeze the wart.
  • Laser treatment: High-intensity light is used to destroy the wart tissue.
  • Surgical removal: A doctor may use various techniques to physically remove the wart.
  • Prescription-strength treatments: In certain cases, a healthcare professional may prescribe stronger medications or solutions.
  • Immunostimulatory therapies: To target the wart from the inside out, healthcare professionals can use injectables such as candida antigen and bleomycin to target the virus internally.

What to Look for in a Wart Treatment

With no shortage of options to choose from, here’s what dermatologists recommend looking for in OTC wart removers:

  • Active Ingredients: Salicylic acid is considered a first-line treatment for warts. It’s available in concentrations of up to 40%, which is the maximum amount available without a prescription. Spray wart removers usually contain dimethyl ether or propane, which are cold substances that cause the wart to blister up and fall off, explains Mona Foad, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and the owner of Mona Dermatology in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Dosage: Salicylic acid wart removers are available at concentrations up to 40%, but more isn’t always better. Salicylic acid concentrations as low as 5% may be effective at treating warts. The higher concentrations are best reserved for warts that are difficult to treat, such as deep plantar warts, notes Dr. Foad.
  • Type of Wart: There are many different types of warts, such as common or plantar warts. Warts that appear on the skin may respond to home treatments, but certain types of warts, such as genital warts and warts that appear on the mucous membranes, should be assessed by a healthcare professional.
  • Location of Wart: Warts can appear anywhere on the body, but they’re commonly found on the hands and feet, says Jeremy Fenton, MD, a board-certified dermatologist practicing in New York City. Some wart removers are specifically designed for these locations, such as bandages and pads for plantar warts that appear on the bottoms of feet. Bandages and strips are also convenient for warts that occur on the hands.
  • Application Method: When choosing a wart remover, it’s important to think about ease of use, says Amie G. Sessa, MD, a dermatologist at Skin Care Specialty Physicians in Maryland. Liquid or gel treatments need time to dry, for example. Others, such as pads or bandages, provide protection and padding, so they may be best for warts on the feet. 

Compound W Maximum Strength Fast Acting Gel Wart Remover

Amazon


Pros

  • Gel is less messy than a liquid

  • Easy application, can be done anywhere

  • Contains salicylic acid

Key Specs

Active Ingredient: Salicylic acid 17% | Dosage: One drop to cover wart, once or twice daily for up to 12 weeks

Why We Recommend It

Compound W is the top brand that our dermatologists recommend. Compound W’s Maximum Strength Fast Acting Gel is formulated with 17% salicylic acid. “This is a product I like to recommend to my patients as the best overall OTC wart remover,” Dr. Foad says, adding that it’s convenient to use and suitable for most areas on the body. However, it’s not recommended for the face.

This wart remover’s handy no-drip applicator makes it so easy to apply. It can be applied directly to the wart, making it far less messy than some liquid alternatives. It’s also suitable for ages 3 and above, making it an effective option for both kids and adults alike. What’s more, it’s an affordable option that can be found at most drugstores.

Keep In Mind

It typically takes weeks of daily use to completely eliminate the wart with this treatment, so you need to be patient and consistent.

Compound W Maximum Strength One Step Plantar Wart Remover Foot Pads

Amazon


Key Specs

Active Ingredient: Salicylic acid 40% | Dosage: Apply bandage to wart, repeat every 48 hours for up to 12 weeks

Why We Recommend It

Plantar warts develop on the soles of the feet and can be painful when you stand or walk. While most are harmless and go away without treatment, sometimes they’re too painful and can make the simplest of tasks feel agonizing.

Those looking to tackle plantar warts on the feet can forget the old days of walking with pain and discomfort when wearing shoes after using the Compound W Maximum Strength One Step Plantar Foot Pads. These pads have adhesive to stick onto your foot and conceal unattractive warts and bumps while tackling deep, stubborn warts with concentrated 40% salicylic acid. Dr. Fenton says that covering warts with a salicylic acid bandage like this one can even increase its effectiveness.

Keep In Mind

These are designed to stay put, but they can move around, especially if they get wet.

WartStick Maximum Strength Salicylic Acid Common and Plantar Wart Remover

Amazon


Cons

  • You need to avoid treating the surrounding skin, which may be difficult

  • Takes time to see results, and you need to be consistent with treatment

Key Specs

Active Ingredient: Salicylic acid 40% | Dosage: Apply a thin layer to the wart daily, as needed, for up to 12 weeks

Why We Recommend It

There are many OTC salicylic acid treatments for warts, but this one is popular among dermatologists for its ease of use and 40% concentration of salicylic acid. We like this nifty little stick because it’s portable, non-messy, and can treat multiple sizes of warts, from teeny-tiny ones to larger ones. Since it’s waxy, it can even coat the wart, so it sticks better than other treatments, says Dr. Foad.

The application method combined with the mega-dose of salicylic acid in the WartStick is probably why it works so well; spread a thin layer on your wart using the stick once a day for up to 12 weeks. That’s it: There are no gels or liquids to mess with and no need to leave a patch or adhesive strip on for long periods of time. It’s painless, odorless, has been around for more than 50 years, and is used by children and parents alike.

Keep In Mind

If the treatment gets on surrounding skin, which can be difficult to avoid, it could cause some discomfort.

Compound W One Step Wart Remover Strips for Kids

Amazon


Key Specs

Active Ingredient: Salicylic acid 40% | Dosage: Apply bandage to wart, repeat every 48 hours for up to 12 weeks

Why We Recommend It

Anyone can develop warts at any age, but they’re more common in children than adults. Children are more susceptible partly due to their immature immune systems, but they may also come into contact with someone or something carrying the contagious virus.

For easily irritable kids who don’t want to wait for warts to clear up on their own, these super cute wart-removing strips go on like a regular adhesive bandage and stay in place no matter what your kids put them through (yes, they’re waterproof!). This totally pain-free treatment method makes it easy for your kid to apply and forget about. Meanwhile, the wart-removing strip will be working hard, tackling your child’s wart with 40% salicylic acid. They’re also safe for kids over the age of 3, so even preschoolers can benefit from this painless method and likely love the colorful patterns on the strips.

Keep In Mind

These strips come 10 per box, which doesn’t seem like a lot. But, in theory, you should only have to apply a new one every 48 hours.

Dr. Scholl's FreezeAway Wart Remover Dual Action

 Amazon


Pros

  • Freezing and salicylic acid treatment

  • Works faster than salicylic acid alone

  • Can be used for common or plantar warts, which are usually on feet

Key Specs

Active Ingredient: Salicylic acid 17% | Dosage: Follow package instructions for freezing; 24 hours later, apply one drop of the salicylic acid liquid to the wart twice a day for two weeks

Why We Recommend It

Plantar warts on the feet can be incredibly painful and make walking arduous. Experts suggest freezing the warts on thicker skin, like on the bottom of your feet. This is known as cryotherapy and is considered equally effective as salicylic acid. Freezing is a popular method because it triggers an immune response to eliminate the frozen skin and warts, explains Mary Lupo, MD, head of the Lupo Center for Aesthetic and General Dermatology in New Orleans.

Dr. Scholl’s FreezeAway Wart Remover Dual Action offers the best of both worlds: freeze therapy and fast-acting 17% salicylic acid. This product first freezes the wart off and breaks it down with the acid so the body can heal with new, wart-less skin.

Keep In Mind

This treatment targets warts in multiple ways, but it’s not without some discomfort. The freezing element can be uncomfortable or painful, even if only for a short amount of time.

Dr. Scholl's ClearAway Wart Remover with Duragel Technology

Amazon


Cons

  • There are two pieces to the patches, which can be complicated to use

  • An uneven number of medicated patches and cushions included

Key Specs

Active Ingredient: Salicylic acid 40% | Dosage: Apply to the affected area, remove after 48 hours, and repeat as needed for up to 12 weeks

Why We Recommend It

Dr. Scholl’s ClearAway Wart Remover is a popular patch because its strips are invisible and discreet. These patches are easy to apply, stick onto the skin well without any issues and work fast without any pain or discomfort. This is a great option for those timid about more aggressive freezing options.

“I often suggest this product to my patients due to its clinical effectiveness,” says Dr. Foad, pointing to the 40% concentration of salicylic acid. The hydrogel design adds comfort and flexibility, and it can be worn for multiple days in a row, she adds.

The thin, flexible bandages are comfortable, and the discreet cushioning keeps the medicated disk in place. This product is best for warts located on hard-to-manage places like fingers and toes.

Keep In Mind

Using these gel bandages involves placing a clear bandage over a medicated disc, which isn’t as straightforward as other options.

How We Selected the Best Wart Treatments

We first spoke to several board-certified dermatologists, who shared their expert recommendations and advice. With their criteria for choosing, we researched dozens of wart removers and made our final list based on the following attributes:

  • Active ingredients: According to the dermatologists we spoke to, salicylic acid in concentrations between 17% and 40% is the go-to treatment for removing warts at home. This was our preferred type of treatment, but we also considered freezing sprays.
  • Application type: Most at-home wart removers include liquids, gels, bandages, and other types. We prioritized gels and bandages since they’re less messy and easy to use.
  • Duration of treatment: It can take weeks or months to treat a wart at home. Salicylic acid is the most popular treatment, but it’s not always the fastest. Treatments that involve freezing the wart tend to work faster, so we included a variety of options.
  • Ease of use: Some wart removers are easier to use and more convenient than others. The dermatologists we spoke to recommended bandages as the most straightforward option, though gel solutions are also simple to use and mess-free.
  • Potential discomfort: While most warts are harmless and painless, some can be very painful, such as plantar warts. However, treating them isn’t always pain-free. High concentrations of salicylic acid can cause discomfort to surrounding skin, and freezing warts at high temperatures can cause a burning sensation.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If you try an OTC treatment and it doesn’t work, you may need to get professional care from a dermatologist. This is particularly true if you’ve had the wart for a long time or the skin has become thickened over the surface. It’s also important to remember that getting rid of a wart can be a tricky and prolonged process, which Dr. Sessa says is due to its viral nature; even once your wart goes away, the virus can lie dormant in healthy-looking cells and can become active again at any time.

Our Experts

Before conducting any research of our own, we turned to the following trusted experts for their professional recommendations and tips on choosing:

  • Jeremy Fenton, MD, a board-certified dermatologist practicing in New York City
  • Mona Foad, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and the owner of Mona Dermatology in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Mary Lupo, MD, head of the Lupo Center for Aesthetic and General Dermatology in New Orleans
  • Amie G. Sessa, MD, a dermatologist at Skin Care Specialty Physicians in Maryland

Frequently Asked Questions 

Frequently Asked Questions


  • Can you use wart removers on skin tags?

    Warts and skin tags are both harmless growths, but they have different causes and respond to different treatments. Some cryotherapy treatments for warts may also work on skin tags.


  • Does wart removal hurt?

    Some wart removal methods can cause discomfort or pain. Salicylic acid bandages are typically pain-free, while freezing warts is considered the most painful.


  • Are wart removers safe for children?

    Many OTC wart removers are kid-friendly. Most are safe for children as long as they’re 3 or 4 years of age or older, but check the label to be sure.


  • How do I prevent warts from returning?

    Warts are highly contagious and viral, so even after you successfully treat a wart, it may return, or you may develop one somewhere else. Some ways to prevent warts include avoiding contact with someone’s wart (or your own), wearing shoes in public places (especially wet places like pool areas), and stopping sharing personal items like towels and nail clippers.

Why Trust Verywell Health

Lacey Muinos is a freelance health writer specializing in skin health. She’s reported on a variety of skin conditions, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, and warts. To find the best wart removers, she spoke to several board-certified dermatologists and referenced medical research.

As a health writer, Marlene Lenthang knows just how important it is to find the right product for your body and mind. Over the years she has written about health crises, vaccines, and product guides. She takes careful note of doctor recommendations, medical research, and customer reviews in every product review to assure readers can choose quality products and understand the science behind them.

Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017—everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that manage everyday health conditions, from GI issues and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.

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