How Effective is Duct Tape at Treating Common Warts?

Do a quick scan of the internet and you will quickly come across hundreds of proposed treatments for warts. However, one treatment that stands out amongst the rest and almost immediately sounds like a hoak is duct tape. Ever hear the old saying, “You can fix anything with duct tape!” Well according to the American Academy of Dermatology, it seems as though the old saying holds true, as it recommends occlusive tape (e.g., Duct tape) as one of the recommended treatments for common warts. However, has duct tape ever really been studied? Has duct tape been show to be any better than other currently available treatment options?

Accordingly, in 2002 a article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association of Pediatrics on The Efficacy of Duct Tape vs Cryotherapy in the Treatment of Verruca Vulgaris (the Common Wart). In this study, duct tape was found to be more effective than cryotherapy in the treatment of common warts. Of 51 total patients completing the study, 22 (85%) of 26 patients treated with duct tape had complete resolution of their warts. This compared to only 15 (60%) of 25 patients treated with cryotherapy. Furthermore, the study showed that once the duct tape treatment was started, 16 (73%) of 22 patients saw resolution of their warts within 28 days! It was also noted in the study that if no result was seen when using duct tape by week 2 to 3, the wart was unlikely to resolve with this treatment method.

Currently, cryotherapy is a well recognized and recommended treatment option by most dermatologist for common warts. However, this treatment option commonly causes fear, discomfort, pain, and burning at the site of treatment. Therefore, there are several potential benefits for using duct tape over cryotherapy, particularly in children. Since duct tape is more practical to use, easy to apply, and more cost effective compared to cryotherapy.

How does Duct Tape work?

The exact mechanism of action of duct tape on warts is still unknown, also as with other therapies, it may involve stimulation of the immune system due to local irritation.

How to use Duct Tape to Treat Common Warts

Cut a piece or duct tape to match the size of the wart
Then place the duct tape over the wart, and leave in place for 6 days
On the evening of the 6th day, remove the duct tape and wash the water in warm water.
File the surface of the wart, using a pumice stone or emery board.
Let the wart air-out on covered over night. Reapply duct tape the following morning.
Repeat this process until the wart is gone, but it is recommended to not used for longer than 2 months.
Common Side Effects

The most frequent complaints about duct tape are difficulty in keeping the tape on, minor skin irritation, and erythema.

Link to Article

Is Duct Tape Occlusion Therapy as Effective as Cryotherapy for the Treatment of the Common Wart?
Sarah Ringold, MD; Jason A. Mendoza, MD; Beth A. Tarini, MD; Colin Sox, MD

How to identify Skin Tags?

Skin tags are flesh like growths that protrude from the skin. Usually, they are either flat and flushed shaped or are more oblong and dangling from the skin. Although skin tags are normally the same color as your skin, some may be slightly darker. Skin tags usually appear under or around the armpits, eyelids, and genital areas of the body. While many people seek to remove skin tags from the body due to their appearance, they are non-harmful, and result from excessive skin growth that forms into a flap.

How to identify Warts?

Warts on the other hand, are contagious skin growths transmitted from person-to-person by contact with an infected individual. Warts can occur in various locations of the body and often depend on the type of wart. In addition, unlike skin tags, warts do not generally dangle from the body. Instead, warts are typically more circular and irregularly rough shaped often remebling a cauliflower like appearance. Like skin tags however, warts too are often skin colored but may be slightly more whitish, with some containing black dots in the center. Although unsighty, most warts are harmless. However, some warts can become painful depending on the location of the wart.

What Causes Skin Tags?

Skin tags often start to appear as people age, with the highest incidence being in middle age individuals. Nevertheless, skin tags can develop at any point in time and may be more prevelant if:

You have a genetic history of skin tags
Are pregnant
Obese
Diabetic
Of note, Anal Skin tags on the other hand, require medical evaluation by a doctor. These types of skin tags should also not be treated with over the counter skin tag removers. Anal skin tags can easily be confused by various other underlying medical issues such as anal fissures, hemorroids, or anal warts. Therefore, we recommend that if you think you suffer from anal warts you contact your health care provider for further evaluation for proper medical treatment.

What Causes Warts?

Warts, unlike skin tags, are caused by a virus referred to as the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This virus is highly contagious and is spread by person-to-person contact. The most common modes of transmission are through direct skin-to-skin contact or by sexual intercourse with an infected individual.

How to Get Rid of Skin Tags

Now that you know how to identify skin tags and warts, we’ll go over some ways to get rid of skin tags. Like warts, there are many over the counter skin tag treatments. Luckily for you, we’ve done the research on these products for you and below are our top choices. However, like all treatments, in order to determine which one is right for you, make sure you read all of the information provided about each product. We’ve also included for your convenience links to the products and places where you can purchase each product at a discounted price in order to save you the most money!

What do warts look like?

Warts, latin for verruca vulgaris, are skin growths that can appear on various areas of the body. People often confuse these skin aligments with other skin conditions such as moles, pimples, skin tags, as well as other types of warts. In fact, one type of wart can look very different from other types of warts, leading to even more confusion. This can cause some problems if the wart your looking at doesn’t necessarily look like the warts you’re used to. In fact this is the number one reason most people mistakenly dismiss warts for other skin aligments. Thankfully, there are some tricks and tips you can use in order to help know how to identify a wart more easily.

1. How to Identify a Wart – Location of the Wart

The first tip on how to identify a wart, is to look at the location of the wart. Warts are caused by different strains of the HPV virus. This influences their location, and the areas of the body in which they affect. For instance common warts generally appear on the hands, top of feet, arms and legs. Plantar warts are characteristically located on the bottom of the feet. Flat warts generally appear on the face, neck and body. Genital warts tend to be located in the tissue surrounding the genital areas and mouth. Whereas periungual warts tend to grow on hands and feet around the nails. Filiform warts are normally located on the face, neck, and under skin folds.

However, just using the location of the wart isn’t aways the determining factor when choosing on how to identify a wart. This is because some warts can also affect the same areas. For instance, Flat warts and Filiform warts can both be found on and around the face. This is also true for hand warts, which can be either periungual warts or common warts. Warts are also known to spread and are known to be very contagious. Therefore, warts can also be spread to other locations of the body, not typical of that wart.

2. How to Identify a Wart – Color of the Wart

The second tip on how to identify a wart, is the color of the wart. Some types of warts have characteristic color that may be used in order to help tell them apart. For instance, common warts generally appear as more tan, pink, or flesh colored. Whereas, plantar warts generally yellowish in color and contain small black dots or clotted blood vessels which may be visible from the surface.

3. How to Identify a Wart – Appearance of the Wart

The third tip on how to identify a wart, is to simply look at the appearance of the wart. This may in fact be the most useful way to differentiate between different types of warts. Since most warts have characteristic shapes and sizes that may allow you to quickly identify the type of wart. For example:

Common warts: Big, rough, raised, cauliflower-like appearance
Plantar warts: Smaller in size, generally more flat, deep warts. Often very painful.
Filiform warts: Long and thin warts protruding from the skin.
Flat warts: small, smooth, and oval shaped often appearing in large numbers and in rows.
Periungual warts: Painful and very stubborn warts next to the nail beds.
Genital Warts: Tiny, hard, rough, or soft, flesh colored bumps growing in clusters with a cauliflower like appearance.
No matter the type of wart, general advice is to never treat a wart unless you are 100% sure it is a wart. You should consult you healthcare provider first if you have any questions or are unsure about the type of wart you may have. You can always then after speaking with a healthcare professional determine how to treat the wart yourself.