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Quick Facts

  • Method of Action:

    Destruction

  • Efficacy Range:

    Low for Plantar warts, moderate for others

  • Pain During Treatment:

    Low

  • Recurrence Rate:

    High

  • Pain Post Treatment:

    Moderate

  • Patient Satisfaction:

    Low to moderate

  • Number of Treatments Required:

    10-60+

More About Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a destructive therapy that can be effective in removing the wart through acid absorption, but is proven not to affect the HPV Virus. It may cause an immune response based on the irritation caused by the acid, however this has not been proven. It is typically prepared in concentrations ranging from 10% to 60% with lower % concentrations being available over the counter. Should not be used on the face, neck or genitals.

  • How does this treatment work?

    With prolonged daily application over several weeks or months, salicylic acid is slowly absorbed into superficial virus infected cells. These epithelial cells are eventually destroyed, causing causing peeling of skin.

  • How effective is this treatment?

    Despite being considered first line treatment and being used quite frequently in a wide range of applications, salicylic acid remains a relatively ineffective treatment for all forms of warts. Plantar warts in particular do not respond well to salicylic acid (lower than 33% efficacy*).

  • What can patients expect when receiving this treatment?

    Typical Treatment Protocol:

    • The wart is soaked for 5 minutes prior to debridement
    • The wart is then debrided with a pumice stone or blade prior to treatment
    • Acid concentration is prepared and then applied to the wart: Important not to contact the surrounding tissue
    • Acid is to be applied every day and patches are typically required to re-applied every 48 hours
      Treatment protocols must be strictly adhered to and last several weeks to several months

    Pain:

    • Limited pain during the procure as the acid is not impacting healthy tissue
    • Once the peeling process begins the pain levels elevate and depending on location can cause limited mobility

    Post Procedural:

    • The skin may turn slightly dark or red in color, which is normal.
    • You should stop using the product if it causes pain, bleeding, or blisters.
    • If this happens, see a doctor for advice
    • Routine above is commonly repeated daily

    Risk(s):

    • Minor skin irritation, rash, or peeling;
    • Hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin)
    • Occasional contact dermatitis
    • Potential risk of systemic toxicity in children: can be avoided with lower concentrations
    • Recurrence
  • Where can I receive this treatment?

    Most podiatrists and dermatologists will have the ability to treat with salicylic acid due to the low cost and ease of access.