Warts are a common skin condition caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV).
While various over-the-counter treatments and medical procedures are available for warts, many people turn to natural home remedies like apple cider vinegar for wart removal.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV), made from fermented apple juice, is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
There are divided opinions and scientific evidence on the efficacy of apple cider vinegar in treating warts. ACV’s acetic acid is believed to treat warts just like salicylic acid, the leading mainstream method.
The process typically involves directly diluting the vinegar in water and applying it to the affected area with a cotton ball. (Full instructions below.)
It is always best to consult a healthcare professional before trying home remedies or treatments, especially if you have sensitive skin or underlying medical conditions.
Warts are small, rough bumps or skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They may appear on any body part, leading to discomfort, mild irritation, and, often, self-consciousness.
Causes and Types
Warts develop when HPV infects the top layer of the skin.
The virus is generally spread through direct skin-to-skin contact or touching an object used by an infected person.
There are various types of warts, including:
Common warts are rough, raised bumps typically found on the hands and fingers.
Plantar warts grow on the soles of the feet and can be painful when walking. A plantar wart has a tendency to grow inward, beneath a layer of thick, hardened skin known as a callus, making it harder to treat. A plantar wart can be recognized by the presence of black pinpoints (small clotted blood vessels within the wart).
Flat warts are small, flat-topped growths that usually appear on the face, neck, or legs.
Filiform warts are thread-like warts that commonly grow around the mouth, nose, or eyes.
Periungual warts form around or under fingernails and toenails, potentially affecting nail growth.
Common Medical Treatments
There are several common wart treatments, including:
Salicylic acid: An over-the-counter medication applied to the wart overnight to help dissolve the skin layers. Salicylic acid has been shown to be the best mainstream medical treatment. (ACV is believed to work the same way.)
Cryotherapy: A medical treatment that involves freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen to destroy the tissue.
Electrosurgery: A procedure where a medical professional uses an electric current to burn off the wart.
Laser therapy: Using a concentrated beam of light to destroy the wart tissue.
Immunotherapy: A treatment that specifically stimulates the immune system to target and eliminate the wart-causing virus until the wart falls off.
It is important to consult a healthcare professional before choosing a wart treatment option, as only some methods are suitable for some individuals or wart types.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Warts
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work to Get Rid of Warts?
It’s a popular folk remedy that is believed to work similarly to salicylic acid, which scientific studies have shown is the best, known method to treat warts.
This section will discuss how to use apple cider vinegar to remove warts and the methods used to apply it.
How It Works: Why does Apple Cider Vinegar Kill Warts?
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which is believed to be the primary active ingredient responsible for its potential wart-removal effects.
The acetic acid in ACV slowly destroys the wart tissue over time. It also causes mild irritation to the skin. This irritation caused stimulates the immune system’s ability to work more efficiently against the wart-causing virus. Finally, it kills harmful pathogens. (This process resembles how salicylic acid removes warts.)
However, please note that the effectiveness of ACV in treating warts might differ for some.
Application Methods: How to Remove Warts with Apple Cider Vinegar
There are a few methods for getting rid of warts with ACV.
It’s essential to dilute ACV with water before application to minimize the risk of skin irritation or even a chemical burn.
Direct Application by Cotton Ball
The most common process to use apple cider vinegar involves the following steps:
Mix two parts apple cider vinegar with one part water.
Soak a cotton ball directly in the vinegar-water solution.
Apply apple cider vinegar to the cotton ball to the wart and secure it with a bandage or tape to keep it in place overnight.
Remove the cotton ball in the morning and wash the area with water.
It is recommended to use apple cider vinegar topically twice a day.
Warm soak in Apple Cider Vinegar for plantar warts
The warm soak method works especially well if you have a plantar wart.
Soak the affected foot in a large container filled with equal parts ACV and warm water for about 15 minutes.
This method is especially suitable to remove plantar warts since they’re on the feet. When you apply apple cider vinegar in this way, you get a nice foot soak as an added bonus!
Consistency is key
Both methods require consistent application over several days or weeks to see noticeable results. It’s important to monitor your skin for any signs of irritation to prevent burns and stop ACV treatment if you experience discomfort, redness, or pain. Continue until the wart falls off.
Apple Cider Vinegar Wart Removal Stages
Application of ACV
Discoloration: After a few days of consistent application, you may notice the wart turning black or dark brown.
Softening and shrinking: Over time, the wart should soften and start to shrink. This can take days or weeks, depending on the size and type of wart.
Pain or discomfort: Some people experience mild pain or discomfort during treatment. If you experience severe pain or irritation, stop the treatment and consult a healthcare professional.
Separation: Eventually, the wart may begin to detach from the surrounding skin. It is essential not to remove the wart forcibly, as this may lead to scarring or infection. Allow the wart to fall off naturally.
Healing: A small wound may be left behind once the wart falls off. Keep the area clean and protected to promote healing and reduce the risk of infection or scarring. Over time, the skin should return to normal.
Benefits and Risks
Advantages of Using Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for warts due to its simplicity, low cost, and that it has withstood the test of time.
Some other advantages of using apple cider vinegar for wart removal include:
Low likelihood of scarring
Convenient and accessible
Possible Side Effects
While using topical apple cider vinegar alone for warts can be an effective treatment, there are some potential side effects to consider.
Prolonged use of ACV directly on the skin can cause skin irritation and, in some cases, vinegar burns. Therefore, monitoring your skin’s reaction to this treatment is essential, and stop using it if any adverse effects (such as a burning sensation or chemical burns) are observed.
Alternative Natural Remedies
While apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for wart removal, other natural alternatives can be used. Each of these remedies has varying effectiveness levels and should be used with caution.
Duct tape occlusion is a popular home remedy for warts, which involves a multi-step process. The method includes applying duct tape to the wart, removing it every 3-5 days to gently rub the wart with an emery board or pumice stone, and soaking the wart in warm water during exposure. After 10-12 hours of air exposure, a new piece of duct tape is applied to continue the treatment. This method, though not scientifically proven, may take several weeks to fully remove a wart.
Another alternative is aloe vera, a soothing plant-based gel known for its skin-healing properties. Applying aloe vera to warts may help treat them by inhibiting their growth and promoting skin regeneration.
Tea tree oil is another option for wart removal. Its antiviral and antifungal properties may help eliminate the virus causing the wart. However, tea tree oil should be cautiously applied as it may cause skin irritation if not diluted properly.
Garlic is another home remedy with antiviral properties that may help treat warts. To use this method, crush a clove of garlic, place it on the infected skin of the wart, and cover it with a bandage.
There are even more alternative remedies you can explore, natural products such as:
Banana peel: Rub the inside of a banana peel on the wart daily.
Onion juice: Apply freshly squeezed onion juice to the wart.
Potato: Rub a cut potato on the wart regularly.
Baking soda and castor oil: Apply a paste from the two ingredients to the wart.
These home remedies and health claims all have varying levels of plausibility and credibility.
When to See a Doctor
While using apple cider vinegar to treat warts is a common home remedy for self removal, monitoring the skin for any chemical burns or lack of progress is essential. If you notice any of the following, you should consult a doctor:
Significant pain or irritation around the wart after using apple cider vinegar
Signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus
Wart has not shown signs of reducing size after five days of treatment.
Wart is bleeding or seems to be worsening instead of improving.
Wart is located on the face, genital area, or other delicate areas where home treatments may not be safe
While apple cider vinegar is a popular home treatment, it is not a medically proven method fo. That’s why it’s crucial to pay close attention to your skin’s response to the treatment and seek professional help when necessary. Your doctor can provide alternative treatments and assess whether more specialized care is required.
Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment, especially if you have pre-existing conditions or are concerned about potential complications. Your safety and comfort should always come first.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Get Rid of Warts?
There have been no scientific studies that prove ACV and its acetic acid get rid of warts, but it’s believed to work similarly to salicylic acid, which scientific studies have shown is the best, known method to treat warts.