Showing Warts the Door: My Journey to a Wart-free Life

I remember a tall tale I heard in elementary school that if anyone handled a frog, they would inevitably find warts on the place where they touched him and soon after would have warts all over their body. As a boy, I feared such an ugly and detestable condition to befall me, for fear that I may end up looking like one of the goons from Dick Tracy. This urban myth remained with me until my early adult years when I found not one, but two warts subtly rise up and distort the appearance of my once-normal-looking left hand. Through my journey of trial and error, I discovered the right and wrong ways to go about getting rid of these despicable growths.

Warts can begin very innocent and tenuous as a tiny irregular spot on your hands, feet, elbows, knees or face. If you are like me, you may at first mistake it for an insect bite or a small scar that you don’t remember. The common wart is the thick and rough warts that appear mostly on your hands and feet. Flat warts, which are smooth and less visable, are found on the hands and feet and are less conspicuous but have a much staying power as any other wart. Plantar Warts are the sometimes painful warts that you may find on the bottom of your feet. Unfortunately, after time, you realize that scars don’t grow and that this phenomena may be in for the long haul if left untreated. This is when you realize that you may have to take more stringent measures to eradicate the wart. Many times, these small warts may come and go like the common cold but more often than not, they make a permanent and unwelcome addition to your skin’s appearance. Here are a few treatments I went through and the results I came up with:

1. Cutting off the wart – I tried this treatment on two separate occasions and came up with the same result both times. This treatment is not for the faint of heart and I do not recommend it to anyone with diabetes or anemia of any kind. At first, it may seem as if you have gotten rid of the problem because the self-inflicted wound will heal until as many as three more warts may possibly grow back in its place. After this fiasco, I ended up with two warts to deal with instead of one and this only frustrated me further. I have heard of this method working if the wart is in its infant stages, but with the fairly sizeable warts, it is not worth the pain and trouble it causes because the problem lies below the surface of the skin.

2. Cantharidin – With this process, either with a doctor or self-application, you apply like you would apply salve to a small cut or paint to a model airplane. This is found in most drug stores with a bottle and brush applicator. Cantharidin has an acidic effect that will not hurt at first contact, but will eventually cause a blister that is supposed to take up the wart below the skin. The detriment to this treatment is that it many times requires weeks of treatment which can be a long and drawn out process for many busy people. Additionally, the chemical smell that is gives off after you apply may be distracting to you and disagreeable to family and coworkers. While this treatment is useful and effective in many cases, I do not recommend it or the trouble and time it costs. Also, for many people, including myself, it just didn’t work after all the weeks worth of trouble anyway.

3. Hypnosis – I know what you may be thinking about this, but hypnosis does not always involve swinging a pocket watch in front of your face or any thing else that you may preconceive. Some have said that you can use this truly “mind over matter” technique to get rid of your warts if you just believe that warts will flake off and disappear, then they will. While I am not inclined to believe this idea, doctors have said this can be far more effective than the other treatments if you just believe they will be gone, then they will.

3. Salicylic Acid (Compound W) – Compound W is one of the highest marketed products for eliminating warts. This was the third treatment I tried and was really optimistic about it at first, but again, the lack of results disappointed me. The treatment is applied with the use of a sticky circular band-aid with the medicine in the center. Before applying the treatment, the box recommends that you “trim” the wart of the dead skin on the wart in order for the treatment to be the most effective. I just used a pair of toenail clippers to cut away the dead tissue. With the idea of trying to make the treatment effective, I cut too deep and it would sometimes make the treatment painful. Also, like cantharidin, it requires the user to go through this process many times for the wart to be gone and may end up being a hassle as well. This may work for other people, but was ineffective for me and certainly not worth the ten dollars I paid for it. (Note: The makers of Compound W have marketed a new liquid nitrogen product, but for the sake of argument, I am talking about the original Compound W product using salicylic acid)

4. Duct Tape – This is what you might call an old fashioned remedy that has proven itself in some cases, but not consistent enough to guarantee. While I have not personally used this method, I have friends that have, with only mixed results. The idea is to seal off the wart from oxygen in order to suffocate it to death. This is an unorthodox method, but its positive results for some whom have tried it make it worth mentioning. The fact that it requires only a strip of duct tape makes it both low cost and low maintenance gives incentive to at least try it, whether it fails or not. It also may be a great way to start a conversation with someone on the subway. Had I known to try this method at the time, I would have and might have had better results than the last three treatments I have listed.

5. Liquid Nitrogen – Liquid nitrogen treatment for warts was my light at the end of the tunnel and the end of my search for the best wart treatment medicine. I finally came to this treatment after going to a dermatologist feeling utterly defeated in my quest for an easy remedy. The doctor sprayed my warts with liquid nitrogen from a pressurized bottle ONCE and my warts just blistered up and fell off in a matter of days. At the time of my treatment, I would have said that the cost to see a doctor and have it removed with liquid nitrogen is not worth the high cost and you should try one of the other home remedies. But within the last year many products have come out from companies like Dr. Schoell’s and Compound W that allow you to use a version of liquid nitrogen at home at a much reduced cost. This method is my primary recommended product to use if you want to get rid of the warts fast and easy.

I have heard of other medieval ways of getting rid of warts such as burning, scraping or “picking out the seeds”. Tom Sawyer would recommend swinging a dead cat over your head and burying it to make sure your warts are gone. Just remember, there are a many different ways to skin a cat and erasing your warts will inevitably involve pain, but pain is not necessarily gain. If the wart is discolored, bleeding or you are not sure if it is a wart, see a doctor or any special treatment you may need for it. Finding the right treatment for you may take less or more of an effort depending on how large the wart is and how long it has been there. You may find another method more useful than I have, but hopefully you will find one that will give you the quickest way to living wart-free.

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