Five Treatments to Get Rid of Flat Warts

Several types of treatments are currently available to get rid of flat warts. However, it's advisable to consult a dermatologist in order to learn more. Take a look at these five options.
Five Treatments to Get Rid of Flat Warts

Last update: 04 February, 2021

Flat warts are small lesions in the skin. They’re slightly elevated and reddish-brown colored and are characterized by having a flat surface. They frequently appear on some parts of the face, but they also tend to be found on the hands and neck.

Flat warts are another common manifestation of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that often affects the adolescent population. They don’t represent a serious problem, but they are contagious and come out about when your immune system is weakened.

Fortunately, there are many natural treatments that can help to eliminate them without having to employ aggressive methods. In the following article, we’ll share the five best treatments that you shouldn’t hesitate to try when you’re bothered with this problem. Take note!

Why flat warts appear

As mentioned, warts are a manifestation of the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which there are more than 100 different subtypes of. Specifically, flat warts are caused by HPV types 3, 10, 28, and 49.

Unlike the strains that cause genital HPV, these are benign and pose no risk beyond the appearance of the wart. However, precisely because of their appearance, there are those who prefer to treat them.

How to recognize flat warts

Some flat warts on a finger.
Flat warts don’t have a rough surface, but a smooth one. In addition, they’re usually smaller.

Flat warts are slightly smaller than other types of warts. In addition, their head isn’t rough but smooth. They’re less raised, may have a round or oval shape, and usually range from 1 to 3 millimeters.

These warts often grow in clusters of 20 to 200 warts. They often occur around areas of skin that have been scratched or broken. Although they aren’t usually a problem, they can sometimes bleed and hurt.

Treatments to get rid of flat warts

Currently, there are a number of treatments that help combat flat warts, in many cases even getting rid of them. However, it should be noted that many of them disappear on their own without treatment. In any case, if they’re present, it’s best to see a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis.

Your dermatologist can provide advice on a number of remedies, medications, and innovative therapies to fight this problem. In addition, if you have flat warts on your face, they’ll help choose a less aggressive option to avoid scarring.

According to information published by the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, methods to treat this condition may include salicylic acid, cryotherapy, laser, electrocoagulation, among others. Below, we’ll look at their characteristics.

1. Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid concentrations ranging from 10% to 20% have shown positive effects in the treatment of flat warts. In fact, it’s one of the first-line therapies for dealing with this cosmetic problem. However, it must be applied every day, for several weeks, to obtain results.

2. Cryotherapy

A doctor inspecting a wart on a patient.
Cryotherapy doesn’t always give the expected results in removing warts. However, it usually works in most cases after several sessions.

Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart. It’s one of the therapeutic options that stand out for its speed, although its application involves some discomfort. To remove the entire wart may require a treatment every 1 to 3 weeks, for 2 to 4 times.

Sometimes, it doesn’t give good results and forces the dermatologist to recommend other types of treatments. In addition, some patients experience pain and end up with scars.

3. Cantharidin

Cantharidin is a chemical compound obtained from the Spanish fly (Lytta vesicatoria). Applied topically, it has the ability to generate blisters without causing residual scarring. Because of this action, people often use it to make warts disappear.

In most cases, the person doesn’t experience any pain when the product is applied. Once applied, the doctor will remove it within 3 to 8 hours and they’ll cover the wart with a bandage. Then, they’ll remove the bandage after 24 hours. The treatment has a 70% response rate after 2 applications.

4. Electrocoagulation

This procedure is more aggressive than the previous ones. In fact, it requires the use of anesthesia and requires post-op care. Although it can be effective in removing the wart, it can leave scars.

5. Pulsed dye laser

This treatment stands out because it’s faster. However, it lacks evidence of efficacy, causes pain, and may leave scarring. In addition, it’s much more expensive than other options.

Do home remedies work?

There are various home remedy options against warts. However, there’s no evidence to demonstrate their safety and efficacy to date. In fact, some may be aggressive, causing skin burns.

Therefore, before using any of these options, it’s important to find out if they cause side effects. If possible, you should ask your doctor. Are you still not sure? Seek care with your dermatologist and discover more treatment options.