Warts are infections of the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), and whilst they can disappear of their own accord, it may take months or even years before they’re gone. One of the simplest and most effective wart removal home remedies is to use duct tape, which can be found in most hardware or grocery stores.
Duct tape not only stops the world from falling apart it can also eradicate those irritating lumps and bumps that can appear anywhere on your body. In fact, a study by Dr. Dean Focht from the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati concluded that it was more effective than cryotherapy, which is the freezing of the wart by liquid nitrogen. Of the 51 patients who completed the study twenty-two patients (85%) who used duct tape versus fifteen (60%) who were given cryotherapy saw their warts completely disappear, often within the first month of treatment (Dean R. Focht III; Carole Spicer; Mary P. Fairchock. The Efficacy of Duct Tape vs Cryotherapy in the Treatment of Verruca Vulgaris (the Common Wart). Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, Oct 2002; 156: 971-974).
A further study in 2006 saw a more modest outcome. The duct tape was only effective in 16% of cases compared to a 6% success rate of those trial subjects who were given a placebo (Marloes de Haen, et al. Efficacy of Duct Tape vs Placebo in the Treatment of Verruca Vulgaris (Warts) in Primary School Children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2006; 160: 1121-1126).
How to Remove a Wart with Duct Tape
A person should apply gray (original) duct tape so that it completely covers the wart (not covering the skin around the wart), and leave it in place for six days. Remove the tape and then soak the affected area in warm water and then scrub with an emery board or pumice stone. Then put another piece of duct tape on the wart and repeat the process. After two months the wart should have disappeared.
There is another duct tape wart removal method which involves applying warts with salicylic acid before going to bed. Let it dry and then cover with duct tape. In the morning peel off the duct tape. Warts should get smaller each day. Repeat the process every nighttime until the wart disappears.
Reasons Duct Tape Might Be Effective
A wart needs air to thrive and survive but smothering it with duct tape effectively suffocates the annoying growth. It is also thought that the duct tape may induce the immune system to attack the wart and virus, although this hasn’t be proven by scientific research yet. The duct tape irritates the wart to a point where an elevated immune response occurs at the site of the wart. The immune system fights the human papillomavirus at the site of the wart and destroys the virus much faster than just letting the wart go away on its own. Another theory as to why the application of duct tape might be effective is that the sticky substance removes dead skin cells that harbor the virus.
Pros and Cons of Duct Tape
The advantages of duct tape wart remover are that it is cheap, painless, and has proved to be effective. Duct tape wart removal usually takes approximately 2 months to effectively remove the wart compared to 1 to 2 years if left alone. A major disadvantage is that it can cause the skin under the tape to become red and soggy. If this happens the medical advice is to suspend the treatment for a few days to let the skin breath, dry out, and recover.