Flat warts are very slightly raised, smooth, skin-colored bumps that mostly develop in areas like the face, neck, legs, beard area, backs of the hands and arms. The bumps range in size from 1 to 5 mm and tend to appear in large numbers.
Like other warts, flat warts are caused by HPV (human papilloma virus). HPV 3, 10, 28 and 49 are the viral strains that cause flat warts. This virus is contagious and can easily get into your body through the tiniest crack in the skin. Once you get the virus, it affects the rate at which the skin cells reproduce.
Flat warts are also known as juvenile warts, as they are most commonly found in children and young adults. Certain predisposing factors can also lead to the appearance of flat warts, such as use of razors, injury to the facial skin, poor hygiene (dirty skin) and sweating.
Other common issues like respiratory infections and common colds can lead to poor immunity and activation of the virus on the skin.
Flat warts are usually painless and go away on their own with time. For minor bumps, treatment is not even recommended because it can cause scars. However, you can always opt for treatment if the warts are highly bothersome.
There are certain home remedies that you can try. But before trying any remedy, see a doctor to be sure that the bumps are flat warts and not other skin issues.
Here are the top 10 ways to get rid of flat warts at home.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar works as a great wart treatment.
The acetic acid in it is corrosive in nature and helps deal with the abnormal growth of skin tissue. Plus, its antiviral property helps kill the virus and accelerate the healing process.
Additionally, apple cider vinegar is good for your immunity.
- Moisten a cotton ball with organic apple cider vinegar and apply it to the affected area. Use a bandage or tape to hold the cotton ball in place and leave it on overnight. Do it daily until the flat warts are gone.
- Also, add 2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink it twice daily to help combat the virus.
Caution: When applying apple cider vinegar on delicate areas like your face or neck, make sure to dilute it with an equal amount of water and then use it.
2. Duct Tape
Duct tape is also a good remedy for flat warts. Duct tape will cause the wart to shrink and disappear. It also causes irritation in the wart-infected tissue, which invites the body’s natural immune response to attack the virus.
You can use it to get rid of flat warts on your neck, hands and legs. However, it is best not to use duct tape on your face.
- Cut a patch of duct tape large enough to cover the wart area.
- After cleaning the area, pat dry the skin with a soft towel.
- Put the duct tape over the area for 1 to 2 days.
- Remove it, let the skin air out for a while and then clean the area to remove the dead tissue.
- Repeat daily until the warts are gone. Do not follow this remedy for more than 2 months, though.
3. Banana Peels
Banana peels are also effective. The peels contain a proteolytic enzyme that softens and dissolves the warts.
- Cut a piece of banana peel and tape it over the affected area. Do this before going to bed and leave it on overnight. Repeat daily.
- Alternatively, scrape off the whitish interior of the peel and apply it all over the area with the warts. Cover the area with a bandage and leave it on overnight. Repeat daily.
Also, go ahead and eat the banana, as it will help your immune system fight off the virus that causes the warts.
Garlic is a strong antiviral agent that helps kill the virus responsible for flat warts. The caustic effect of the garlic causes the wart to blister and fall off gradually.
It also builds immunity.
- Crush a garlic clove and apply it on the affected area. Cover it with a bandage. Leave it on for 20 minutes, then wash the area thoroughly. Repeat twice daily until you are satisfied with the result.
- You can also take garlic orally by using it in your cooking or as a supplement. Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
5. Tree Tea Oil
Tea tree oil is great for melting away flat warts. Due to its antiviral and antiseptic qualities, this essential oil helps your body battle the virus that causes the warts.
- Mix 5 or 6 drops of tea tree oil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Dab the oil mix on the flat warts, and leave it on for a couple of hours.
- Rinse it off with warm water.
- Repeat twice daily for a few weeks.
Caution: Do not apply tea tree oil in its pure form because it may cause skin irritation.
The salicylic acid in aspirin irritates the skin and peels off infected tissue, thus making it a great remedy for flat warts.
- Wash the affected area with lukewarm water.
- File away the uppermost, dead warty skin with an emery board.
- Crush a few aspirin tablets and add a little water to make a paste.
- Apply this paste on the affected area.
- Leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse it off. Or, you can cover it with a gauze and bandage and leave it on overnight.
- Do this once or twice a day for 12 weeks.
Prior to applying the aspirin paste, you can apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly on the area around the warts to prevent irritation of surrounding tissue.
7. Zinc Ointment
You can also get an over-the-counter zinc ointment to treat flat warts. Zinc ointment is particularly effective in people with a zinc deficiency.
A 2007 study published in the International Journal of Dermatology found that topical zinc oxide is an efficacious, painless and safe therapeutic option for wart treatment as compared to a salicylic acid-lactic acid combination.
All you need to do is clean the affected area and apply over-the-counter zinc ointment twice daily. You can leave it on your skin for 30 minutes or more.
8. Oregano Oil
Oil of oregano is another effective remedy to get rid of flat warts. It has potent antimocrobial and antiviral properties that help fight the virus causing the problem.
- Mix 6 drops of oil of oregano in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, coconut oil or castor oil.
- Apply the oil on your wart.
- Leave it on for a few hours. You do not need to rinse it off.
- Repeat twice daily for a few weeks. People have reported success with this remedy within 2 weeks.
9. Castor Oil
You can also use pure castor oil to eliminate warts from your skin. Applying a layer of this thick, viscous oil on the affected area will help cut off the supply of air and moisture of the virus causing the warts.
- Using a cotton ball, apply pure castor oil on the affected area.
- Leave it on for a few hours. You need not rinse it off.
- Reapply 2 or 3 times a day. Your wart should gradually dry up within a few weeks.
Although it may sound weird, the regular (amber) Listerine works great on warts. The exact reason as to why it works is still not clear but its antiseptic properties. It is particularly effective for plantar warts.
- Dip a cotton ball in Listerine mouthwash and dab it on your flat wart. Secure it in place with a bandage or medical tape. Leave it on overnight. The next morning, remove the tape and wash the affected area with water. Do this daily until your wart disappears.
- When dealing with several plantar warts, soak your wart-affected area in Listerine for 10 to 15 minutes daily. The wart should dry up and fall off within a couple of weeks.
- Eat vitamin C-rich foods like lemons, oranges, bell peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts to boost your immunity and help fight the virus.
- You can also apply lemon juice on your warts to help treat them. Leave the juice on for 30 minutes, then rinse it off. Do this daily for a few weeks or until your warts disappear.
- Always wash your hands after touching or treating your warts.
- Do not touch other people’s warts.
- Avoid sharing towels or other personal items.
- If your child has warts, keep their toys clean.
- Avoid using public showers. If it can’t be avoided, wear flip-flops or shower shoes in public showers, pool areas or locker rooms.
- Do not bite or pick your nails, as the virus can easily infect this area.
- Do not wear clothes that are too tight or too warm.
- Never make the mistake of rubbing, picking or scratching your warts.
- Immediately see a doctor if there is pain or the warts are bleeding.