How to recognise and remove a wart naturally?
What is a wart?
A wart is a skin lesion that comes about when the HPV finds a tiny hole in the skin’s epidermis. They are not usually painful, except when they are subjected to the weight of the whole body – in the case of plantar wart, for example. Warts appear as small swellings on the surface of the skin. The wart only appears after several months of incubation. In most cases they’re not dangerous to your health, they’re just cosmetic, but that of course can affect confidence and morale.
Skin warts are common, and in France affect one in four people. Children aged between 5 and 15 years are the most affected, and the majority of this age group will develop at least one common wart and 20-30% will develop plantar warts.
Although this common skin condition mainly affects children, it’s not exceptional for adults to develop them too. They are also common in immunocompromised individuals.
Are warts contagious?
Yes, skin warts are contagious, but the risk of human-to-human transmission is low. This transmission is most often direct through skin contact. The contaminated person can also spread the virus on his or her skin by scratching and thus create new warts: this is self-contamination.
The main source of the contagion is the skin lesion, which when touched can lead to the spread of dead skin cells infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) in the environment.
Contagion can also be indirect via the presence of virus on contact surfaces (floor, tools, etc.) which penetrate any damaged skin of a person coming into contact with it.
Certain environmental factors seem to play an important role in the spreading of the virus, such as humid environments like swimming pools and sports halls, close contact between individuals in classrooms and playrooms, living in a community or large family, or living in a rural area.
Some papillomaviruses do not affect the skin but the mucous membranes, in particular the anogenital mucous membranes, and are responsible for condylomas, also called genital warts. Since contamination is mainly through sexual contact, condylomata are considered a sexually transmitted infection.
At the slightest suspicion of this infection, consult a health specialist immediately. Infected cells, in some cases, can lead to the appearance of cancers, and in particular, cervical cancer.
Are there different types of warts?
Yes, there are several varieties of wart that can be recognised by specific characteristics. They can be found on many parts of the body, such as the face, hands, feet and private parts.
The common wart is the most common form of wart in children and adolescents. It looks like a small, hard, fleshy, granular bump, often rough to the touch. The vulgar wart might be considered embarrassing and unsightly, but it’s rarely painful.
Vulgar warts are mainly located on the backs of the hands and fingers, but you may find them on the knees, elbows and feet. When they are located on the periphery of the nails, you should be careful to check for any nail deformation. This can lead to severe pain, and you may need to consult a health professional.
A plantar wart is a harmless skin lesion, particularly common in children. It is caused by an infection containing the human papillomavirus (HPV), and there are several types.
- Myrmecia: This wart develops mainly on the hands and the soles of the feet. It appears as a wart, often isolated with clear boundaries, with a black dot on the central surface. It is sometimes painful to touch, usually when walking or standing.
- Mosaics: This wart also develops on the soles of the feet, but can be found on the hands and around the nails too. Unlike myrmecia, they appear as thickened patches of skin covered with multiple small, closely spaced plantar warts. Like all plantar warts, they are painful due to the pressure exerted on them.
Thread-like warts are small, narrow and elongated growths usually found on the eyelids, face, nose, neck or lips, especially in the shaving area – making them more common in men. Very often asymptomatic, this variant, morphologically different from the common wart, is harmless and easy to treat. We advise you to consult a specialist to have it removed.
Flat warts caused by the human papillomavirus have a flat top and are yellow-brown, pink or flesh colour. They are papular lesions (small raised patches that do not contain fluid) that are rounded or polygonal (geometric shapes with several angles).
Flat warts are usually located on the face, the backs of the hands and along scratch scars and can be seen in tens or hundreds of patches or streaks secondary to scratching. They are particularly common in children and young adults. They develop by self-inoculation, which means they’re transmitted when a person's contaminated areas makes contact with another area of the body. They are most common in children and young adults. They often cause no symptoms but are often difficult to treat.
Is there a dangerous form of wart?
It is always important to have a genital wart examined to lower the risk of serious development. Genital warts, also known as condylomas, are usually not serious. They develop as a result of sexual contact, including oral sex, with a person infected with one or more human papillomaviruses. However, some of these viruses are cancer-causing, so treatment is always recommended.
You can find them in men (the glans, the frenulum, the urinary orifice, the foreskin or around the anus) and in women (the vulva, the vaginal walls, the cervix, the perineum, the urethral meatus or around the anus). They can be recognised by the following characteristics:
- Small, soft, moist, pink or grey lumps in the crotch, around the anus, on the penis (men) or inside the vagina (women)
- The growths may grow and become rough and irregular, like a small cauliflower
- These warts may burn or itch
To treat genital warts, follow the advice of your doctor to avoid complications. The treatment can be painful or leave scars. If you are healthy, your doctor may let your genital warts resolve without intervening.
How does the wart die?
Skin warts usually regress by themselves within two years. However, some heal naturally after 6 months while others persist for several years in both children and adults. Even though the health consequences are minimal, the aesthetic impact is the main motivating factor in seeking treatment. Treatment can make the warts disappear or eliminate the pain. However, the risk of recurrence is high even when they are burnt, as the virus remains in the body and never dies.
However, for a plantar wart that is chronically ulcerated, as well as a periungual wart (around the nail) that is ulcerated or modifies the nail, caution is important. It is best to consult a dermatologist to make sure that it is not a skin cancer that is taking on the appearance of a wart, so it can be removed if necessary.
How do you remove a wart?
When you want to treat a wart, there are 2 methods of destroying it: physically or chemically.
However, for a more natural method, you can use essential oils.
Read on for prepared recipes where an essential oil (pure or diluted, depending on the specific recommendations for each) should be applied directly to the wart.
Recommended essential oils: Lemon, Grapefruit, Ravintsara, Mountain Savory, Thyme, Tea Tree.
Recipes for the removal of a plantar wart:
|From 7 years old||Mix 1 drop of Savory essential oil with 1 drop of St. John's Wort vegetable oil. Apply this mixture directly to the wart twice a day using a cotton swab. Allow to dry and then protect the wart with a bandage. Repeat this process until the wart disappears completely. Do not expose the area to the sun.|
|From 15 years old||Mix 20 drops of Cinnamon essential oil, 10 drops of Clove essential oil, 10 ml of Chelidomium Mother Tincture. Put 1 or 2 drops of this mixture on a cotton swab and apply before bed, making sure to protect the wart during the day. Repeat for 3 weeks minimum.|
We always recommend consulting your doctor or dermatologist when you have a plantar wart to avoid the risk of aggravation.
Recipes for warts in general (excluding genital warts):
|From 12 years old||Carefully apply 1 drop of thyme essential oil and 1 drop of lemon essential oil, undiluted, to the wart using a cotton swab. Repeat twice a day until the wart has completely disappeared.|
|From 12 years old||Apply 1 drop of Tea Tree essential oil directly to the wart. Repeat twice a day until the wart is completely gone..|
|From the age of 18||
Mix 4 drops of Cinnamon essential oil, 4 drops of Lemon essential oil, 4 drops of Tangerine essential oil and 4 drops of Savory essential oil in a sterile container and pour them into an opaque glass bottle. Apply 1 to 2 drops of this undiluted mixture to the area - covering the skin near the wart with a plaster, leaving only the top of the wart uncovered. Use a cotton swab or a small brush to apply as the mixture can be irritating to healthy skin, every morning and night until the wart is gone.
Disclaimer: This article is intended as a guide and is not a substitute for the advice of a physician, pharmacist or other health care professional.
When using any essential oil therapeutically, always consult a doctor or a pharmacist. Refer carefully to the contraindications and precautions for use of each essential oil. In case of doubt, consult a health professional.
Source: Extracts from the books "Aromatherapia, tout sur les huiles essentielles" and "HUILES ESSENTIELLES, HUILES VÉGÉTALES & HYDROLATS : Mes indispensables", by Isabelle Pacchioni, published by Aroma Thera.