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10:16 AM

'How Do I Get Rid Of My Child's Warts?'

A pediatrician looks looks at 8 alternative and conventional treatment options for treating warts

Warts are the worst.

They can be very ugly. They can cause pain if they’re in a tough spot. They can last forever.

Because of this, I’ve seen families try just about anything and everything to treat them.

But what actually works?

Many warts will go away on their own over time. Studies have shown about 80% of warts are gone after four years … but sometimes we can’t wait that long, especially when it’s your child in pain.

Here’s a look at some of the alternative and conventional treatment options for treating warts, along with my thoughts on if they are worth your time:

  1. Apple cider vinegar – There are limited studies that show mixed results for using apple cider vinegar. It can be very irritating to the skin for some children. It’s OK to try but I wouldn’t get my hopes up.
  2. Salicylic acid – Yes, this is a cream typically used for acne, but salicylic acid has been shown in some studies to effectively treat warts. The skin irritation associated is common and expected, but it has a better chance of working than apple cider vinegar…so it might be worth it.
  3. Tea tree oil – While tea tree oil has been studied (and actually works for a few pediatric skin issues), warts are not one of them.
  4. Crushing aspirin or Vitamin C and applying – No on these as well. No evidence that they are effective and it sounds like a lot of work.
  5. Aloe vera – While unlikely to cause any problems, aloe vera is not effective treatment.
  6. Duct tape – One small study showed that covering a wart with duct tape led to resolution of the wart. Later studies were done which showed it didn’t work, but the researchers used clear tape instead of silver duct tape. So, right now we’re in a sticky situation (sorry) where we don’t know if it works or not. I would use the silver if I wanted to try it. It has been suggested to combine it with the salicylic acid treatment.
  7. Freezing – The most standard treatment is freezing. Freezing works well, but might require retreatment after a few weeks if it doesn’t completely go away. Freezing can be difficult for warts on the feet or hands because the underlying nerves can be damaged.
  8. Surgical removal – If all else fails, a physician can provide local anesthesia and remove the warts.

So there are lots of alternatives to try, but a conversation with your pediatrician is a great place to start. From there, you may be referred to our Dermatology team or to Pediatric Surgery

But for the most part, the best weapon against warts is patience.

What Causes Warts?



Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.

Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club  and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Smith is an experienced keynote speaker for a variety of topics including pediatric/parenting topics, healthcare social media and physician leadership. If you are interested in having Dr. Smith present to your conference or meeting, please contact him at

He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.


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