Salicylic acid is available as a paint, cream, plaster, tape, or patch that you put on the wart. Be sure to read and follow the instructions that come with the medicine, or follow your doctor's instructions. Salicylic acid may take weeks to months to cure a wart.
For best results:
- Before applying salicylic acid, soak the wart in water to help loosen and soften skin. This helps the medicine penetrate the skin more easily.
- Apply salicylic acid to the wart when you go to bed. Cover the area with a bandage or sock, and wash off the medicine in the morning.
- Avoid getting salicylic acid on your unaffected skin. Salicylic acid should touch only the wart.
- With repeated application, salicylic acid causes the wart tissue to become soft so that it can be rubbed off easily.
- Remove dead tissue daily or once or twice a week with careful use of a file or as instructed on the medicine package. Dead tissue contains living wart virus, so dispose of the dead skin carefully. The file will also have living wart virus on it, so throw it away after using it.
- If treatment causes the area to become too tender, stop using the medicine for 2 to 3 days.
Current as of: July 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Ellen K. Roh MD - Dermatology