Warts is a commonly occurring skin disease. Many treatments are available for warts removal. These include physical removal of the wart by your doctor, over-the-counter medication, and home remedies, such as apple cider vinegar.
Warts are small, rough bumps of skin disease caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Do you know that there are more than 100 different types of these warts causing viruses? Apple cider vinegar or ACV effectiveness for treating warts is well known. Here we take a look at how you can use apple cider vinegar on warts, its effectiveness, and its side effects.
The idea behind this ACV treatment is that the acid destroys the cells of the wart tissue exactly as salicylic acid does. At high concentrations, salicylic acid can be more effective in treating warts. But acetic acid should be diluted before use as it might cause burning and might irritate your skin. In general, vinegar is used to kill some types of bacteria.
There could be some side effects of using acidic products on the skin. So if you are considering this treatment should proceed with caution and understand the side effects.
What Causes Warts?
Skin warts are fairly common, and most people will have them at least once at some point in their lives. These harmless raised bumps, which are found mainly on the hands and feet, are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Till today there is no cure for HPV, so most of the treatments are aimed at removing the wart.
Modern treatments for warts include:
- topical creams containing salicylic acid
- freezing off warts (cryotherapy)
- surgical removal
- laser therapy
However, treating warts can be costly and painful. Sometimes you might require multiple treatments. Even after a successful wart treatment, warts can come back or spread to other areas of the body.
How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Treat Warts?
Vinegar is a household substance that has been used for hundreds of years to treat a variety of different ailments, from poison ivy to stomach aches and diabetes.
Apple cider vinegar is known for a number of reasons: typically it can help your hair shine, exfoliate your skin, and keep your teeth pearly-white. So there are good reasons to invest in this fermented drink for the beauty benefits alone. Among those advantages, one great advantage is – apple cider vinegar for warts.
People have found ACV helpful for a couple of reasons: First, vinegar is known for its antibacterial properties that can kill some types of viruses and bacteria. Secondly, many others believe apple cider vinegar works very similarly to salicylic acid, meaning the acidity in apple cider vinegar can help discard dead skin cells.
Hence the idea that apple cider vinegar can be used to treat warts was foreseen. In general, apple cider vinegar is believed to work for warts in the following ways:
- Vinegar is acetic acid, so it can kill some types of viruses and bacteria on contact.
- The vinegar will burn and slowly destroy the infected skin. Over a period causing the wart to fall off, similar to how salicylic acid works.
- The irritation from the acids helps stimulate your immune system’s ability to fight the wart-causing virus.
How Would You Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Treat Warts?
The most recommended method used for treating a wart with apple cider vinegar is quite simple. You only need a cotton ball, water, apple cider vinegar, and a bandage or duct tape.
- Mix two parts of apple cider vinegar with one part of water. Soak a cotton ball in the vinegar and water solution. Apply the cotton ball directly to your wart.
- Cover with tape or a bandage or tape. The aim is to keep the cotton ball on the wart overnight even, longer if possible. Some people might even leave it on for up to 24 hours.
- Remove the cotton ball and bandage and discard.
- Replace the cotton ball with a fresh one – dipped in apple cider vinegar each night.
- Repeat this step every night until your wart falls off.
- You can see the wart might swell or throb. The skin on the wart might even turn black in the first few days. It is a signal that the skin cells around the wart are dying.
- You will notice the wart might fall off within 1 to 2 weeks. You should continue to use apple cider vinegar for a few days so that the wart does not return.
There is another method of creating a solution for submerging your hands or feet:
- Mix equal parts, apple cider vinegar and water in a large container or a bucket.
- Submerge your area affected with warts for about 15-20 minutes every day.
- Rinse the skin or the area with water when you are done.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe to Put on Warts?
Vinegar is chemically a weak acid, containing only 4 and 8 percent acetic acid. However, note that even weak acids can cause chemical burns. There have been incidents where apple cider vinegar has caused chemical burns when applied directly to your skin.
Hence you should be extra careful when applying apple cider vinegar directly to your skin. It is likely that you might feel a mild burning sensation or irritation on your skin.
In case you experience pain and burning that seems to get worse with time, remove the cotton ball and rinse the area with fresh water. When you try this remedy, make sure you are diluting the apple cider vinegar with water to help prevent burns on your skin.
You need to be extra careful and not apply apple cider vinegar to open wounds or directly to your face or neck area. Never use apple cider vinegar on a genital wart. This type of wart is very different from a normal wart and should be treated by a doctor medically.
An allergic reaction is possible when you use any natural product. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include: difficulty in breathing, the appearance of skin rash and hives, dizziness or fast heartbeat. If you come across any of these conditions you should seek medical help.
One possible treatment you might use is the application of cantharidine. Your doctor will paint the chemical on your wart. This chemical causes the skin under the wart to blister off – after 3 to 8 hours so that the wart comes off. This treatment is only done in a doctor’s office.
The American Academy of Dermatology also recommend these treatments for warts:
Your wart can be frozen off using a freezing spray. You can also easily find wart-freezing sprays over the counter.
Your doctor will usually carry out this procedure at the doctor’s office. These sprays will first create a blister around the wart. Which will fall off after a while. Alternatively, a doctor can also remove the wart with a laser or scalpel.
2 Duct tape
It is a proven treatment that warts can be treated by covering them with duct tape. It is a well-known home remedy many people use for wart treatment. Other nonporous tapes like electrical tapes are also often used for this purpose.
Apply duct tape over the wart and change it every few days. Basically, the treatment requires that you must leave the tape on the wart most of the time. The tape should be removed only for a few hours once per week. But you need to ensure that the tape is replaced frequently.
Salicylic Acid for Wart Treatment
You can buy many products containing salicylic acid over the counter or online. You can use the acid to treat damp skin on a daily basis over several weeks – the acid will slowly destroy your skin cells on the wart.
Always follow the instructions on the package before using it. You can follow these steps:
- First, soak the wart for around ten minutes, using warm water.
- Then gently rub the wart with a pumice stone or an emery board.
- Once your wart has softened, follow the instructions properly on the packet to apply the acid. The acid may cause mild burning or stinging.
- Eventually, your wart should peel off.
Like most other natural remedies, the evidence that supports the fact is that apple cider vinegar used to treat warts is mostly anecdotal. Since vinegar is widely available and is quite affordable.
You can give it a try before switching to a more expensive treatment method. But note that in case you experience pain or burning, dilute the vinegar more before you apply it to your wart.
Warts are not usually painful and do not irritate. They usually go away on their own over time. However, some warts might rub against clothing or even bleed, which can be uncomfortable and annoying. However, there is no guaranteed cure for warts, and they probably might return in the same or in a different location.
Apple cider vinegar is not actually an approved treatment method. But it is used like any other acid – quite like salicylic acid. However, there is a range of over-the-counter medications and medical treatments available that might help.
When it comes to your kind of warts, you might need to try several different treatment methods before you find the right one. Your dermatologist may support trying natural remedies together with conventional treatments. You should talk to your doctor to review your options.