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Does Duct Tape Work on Warts?



Duct tape DOES work on warts.

More Info: It really seems, to the uninitiated, that using duct tape as a treatment to remove warts is like some sort of old wives or perhaps even witches tale. But this in fact an entirely legitimate form of treatment, known more formerly as duct tape therapy.

More Complicated Than ‘Stick and Rip’

The use of duct tape does not involve applying the all-purpose material and then sharply removing it soon after, in a way similar to the waxing treatment used to remove body hair. Rather, the duct tape is applied to an area of skin with warts and kept there for roughly a week. Only at that point is the duct tape then removed, with the goal not of removing the wart(s) with it, but rather now exposing skin that is rawer and with warts that can more easily be treated or filed down.

Successful Studies

There is a famous study that is often quoted in treatises about duct tape wart therapy. Dr. Dean Focht, at the Children’s Hospital Medical in Cincinnati, compared the tape method with the more complicated treatment of cryotherapy, which freezes the wart with liquid nitrogen for removal. Overall, 25% more patients subjected to the duct tape treatment saw a complete eradication of warts as compared to those using cryotherapy. However, the 85%-to-60% success ration of the two treatments as outlined by Focht has not easily been replicated. Though another comparison of primary school children found duct tape to be superior, the success ratio was a more modest 16%-to-6%.

Interesting Theory

In addition to the general premise that the application of duct tape starves warts of oxygen, there is the more provocative idea that it may trick the human body’s defense mechanisms. The warts become more irritated by the tape, triggering a reaction in the immune system and a highly accelerated organic reaction aimed at killing the papillomavirus. But more scientific data is needed to corroborate this theory.


Expert Opinion

Quote: “Duct tape, the all-purpose household fix-it with hundreds of uses, can also remove warts. Researchers say over-the-hardware-counter duct tape is a more effective, less painful alternative to liquid nitrogen, which is used to freeze warts. The study was reported in the October issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.”

SourceDuct Tape Therapy
CBS News



Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee – Duct Tape for Wart Removal, Retrieved November 30, 2010 from

Warts Information Center – Duct Tape Wart Removal, Retrieved November 30, 2006 from

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