Did you know that there is a home remedy for wart removal? It involves every handy man’s essential tool, duct tape; it has been found to be more effective in treating warts than cryotherapy — and way less painful. Putting duct tape over warts, is not only easy but inexpensive.
When news giant CBS covered the duct tape wart removal phenomenon on their web blog Healthwatch, they did an excellent job of summarizing the various studies done on the duct tape method so far, including one published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine:
85% of Patients Saw Their Warts Disappear
In the study, patients wore duct tape over their warts for 6 days. Then they removed the tape, soaked the area in water and used an emery board or pumice stone to scrape the spot. The tape was reapplied the next morning.
The treatment was continued for 2 months, or until the wart went away. Of the 26 patients treated with duct tape, 85% were successfully rid of their warts.
Compare that to the 40% of patients who suffered through rounds of cryotherapy (the painful application of liquid nitrogen to the afflicted areas) only to find that, after the study was over, their warts had persisted.
What the Experts Say About Wart Removal
According to Dr. Dean “Rick” Focht III — one of the researchers on this study — duct tape works by irritating the warts, which jump starts your immune system to attack the foreign growths.
In his interview with CBS, Dr. Focht theorized if the duct tape works through irritation — and since no other tapes were tested — it’s possible that there’s nothing about the “grey, heavy-duty, fabric-backed” material of the tape in particular that makes it so effective.
But when a study was done among older adults, duct tape was effective in removing warts only 21% of the time, no more effective than a cotton-tape bandage. When the study was completed, however, the researchers learned that the clear variety of duct tape contains no rubber, like the traditional tape used in the first study.
This detail points back to the question of whether the cure is in fact dependent on the good old-fashioned silver duct tape wart removal.
Dr. Rachel Wenner of the University of Minnesota says, “theoretically, the rubber adhesive could somehow stimulate the immune system or irritate the skin in a different manner.”
Science Meets Common Sense
Duct tape’s ability for wart removal is backed as much by common sense as by science. Warts require air to survive. When constantly wrapped in duct tape, they are unable to get it. Essentially, covering your warts in duct tape is equivalent to suffocating the annoying growths.
The treatment has incited a lot of skepticism because it does, after all, sound a little far-fetched. But listen to what one previous doubter had to say about what happened when he used duct tape to treat his 8-year-old son’s plantar wart:
“This business of treating warts in children with duct tape… I’ve never really believed in it… Then my 8-year-old developed quite an impressive toe wart… It bugged him, but there was absolutely no way he was going to have it incinerated or freeze-burned… So, we tried the weird duct tape treatment… Over the next few days, when we reapplied the tape, the wart started to look sickly [then, after a few more days] my son proudly displayed [the] crater where the wart had been. It had fallen off.”
When faced with results like that, even skeptics have to admit that duct tape has a considerable degree of efficacy. And since it’s inexpensive, easy, and safe, it may just be something you’ll want to keep on hand in your first aid kit.