Thuja is an oil from a particular species of tree, and has been used since the 19th century to prevent warts, ringworm and thrush and people used to inject them directly into venereal warts to kill them off. Rather them than me…
Thuja comes from a coniferous tree found in the US and Canada. Its full name is Thuja Occidentalis. It can be applied directly onto the verruca, or taken in tablet form.
The most conventional home remedy for verrucas, salycilic acid is the active ingredient in products such as Bazuka gel, Cuplex, Duofilm, Occlusal, Salactol, Verrugon and Salatec. Generally, you paint these products over the skin and they dry out the wart. Most form a protective skin over the wart, but some require a plaster over the top. Also, most require you to lightly rub away the top of the verruca with a supplied emery board, to help the treatment work its way in. Many users have found it useful to soak the verruca for 5 to 10 minutes before applying the treatment, but as ever, follow the instructions on the packet. Salicylic acid can irritate the skin around your wart. This isn’t usually serious, and can be prevented by applying vaseline around the verruca. If the skin does get irritated, you can temporarily stop the treatment for a couple of days. Some salicylic acid gels can mark or stain, so be careful not to get them on your clothes or carpets.
So this works on the premise that a wart needs oxygen to survive – remove the air from the wart and it will die. Many patients put a layer of nail varnish over the verruca and then appy duct tape over the top, protecting the layer of varnish and also reducing the oxygen level further.
Many websites suggest the varnish should be clear. I don’t see how the colour would make the slightest bit of difference.
So I suggest a range of neon and glitter party shades. Hey, having a verruca can’t be all doom and gloom!
Vinegar was one of the first treatments I used. I would dab a little over the verruca and then duct tape it up. Eventually, I just taped up a small piece of cotton wool soaked in vinegar over the verruca. It certainly made the verruca softer, although that could have been the effect of the duct tape rather than acid.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Anecdotally, patients swear by Apple Cider Vinegar specifically. With my scientist head on, I can’t see how one particular vinegar is beter than another as it is the acid that would do the work – bear in mind that products such as Bazuka use salycilic acid, so using vinegar isn’t so out of the ordinary.
People do report quite a bit of pain when using this method. I guess applying acid to your skin might do that. If the pain becomes too much, please stop! Now might be the time to see your doctor, just to make sure everything is as it should be.
Tea Tree Oil, comes from the Narrow-leaved Paperbark, a tree native to Australia. The oil ranges in colour from yellow to almost clear, and is generally used as a treatment for coughs, colds and sore throats.
‘Studies’ have shown that Tea Tree Oil is antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic.
It can be applied to the verruca nightly using a cotton bud.
Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree)
The name tea tree is used for several plants, mostly from Australia and New Zealand, from the family Myrtaceae, related to the myrtle. The use of the name probably originated from Captain Cook’s description of one of these shrubs, that he used to make an infusion, to drink in place of tea.
The commercial tea tree oil industry originated in the 1920s when Arthur Penfold, an Australian, investigated the business potential of a number of native extracted oils; he reported that tea tree oil had promise as it exhibited powerful antiseptic properties.
Tea tree oil is extracted from Melaleuca alternifolia commercially.
Silver nitrate (chemical symbol AgNO3) is a caustic agent* that has various uses in medicine and elsewhere. I’m sure there are many brands available, but every pharmacist I went into only stocked ‘Avoca®’ . It is available without prescription. Before starting out on this treatment, consult a doctor or pharmacist.
What comes in the pack?
Usually, one or two caustic pencils, an emery board, dressings and an instruction leaflet.
How do I use it?
Read the manufacturer’s information leaflet first. They are then generally used as follows:
Rub the verruca with an emery board to remove any dead skin
Moisten the tip of the pencil with water (please don’t lick it!)
The dreaded deep freeze? Scourge of the verruca? Still the doctor’s treatment of choice it seems, it involves bringing the temperature of the wart down to such a point that the skin freezes. This destroys the cells that contain the virus in a controlled manner. It is believed that the virus is then released into the blood stream allowing the body’s own defences to fight off the infection.
Professional Cryotherapy – these use nitrous oxide or liquid nitrogen to freeze the verruca. The probe or spray is allowed to make contact with the wart for five to ten seconds and then removed so that the verruca might thaw, before repeating. Available data suggests that harsher freezing (leaving the freezing medium on for longer) is more effective than gentler freezing regimens; that treatment intervals of 2, 3, or 4 weeks are equally effective; and that treatment beyond 3 months is unlikely to give any additional benefit. (Gibbs, S. and Harvey, I. (2006))
If you’ve suffered from verrucas for a while, you may have heard of the duct tape method. Essentially, it involves cutting a piece of duct tape and covering the wart. The problem was you then have to leave it on…for a long time. I don’t think I had a piece stay on for longer than 48 hours. I guess having sweaty feet didn’t help, but if you exercise or bathe regularly this may not be the method for you. If you think it might be, read on..
The Focht Study
The method used in an infamous study in 2002 was as follows:
The verruca was covered with duct tape for 6 days. If the tape fell off during this time, a fresh piece of tape was put on.
After 6 days, the tape was removed and the verruca soaked in warm water for 5 minutes. After drying, it was then gently rubbed with an emery board or pumice stone to get rid of dead tissue from the top of the verruca.
The verruca was then left uncovered overnight and duct tape put on again the next day.
Treatment was continued for up to two months. (Note: most verruca that cleared with duct tape did so within 28 days.)
Lets make one thing very clear. You have a verruca. Is it painful? Unsightly? Then for the love of God try a proper over the counter treatment. If that doesn’t work, then go and see a doctor.
If this doesn’t work, then its time to try some other methods. You’ve got nothing to lose.
A considerable number of people with verrucas are looking for non-invasive, painless treatment methods. This is especially the case with parents trying to treat their young children. Whilst researching for this website, time and time again I’ve come across the banana skin treatment method. It seems to go as follows: