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Duct Tape on Warts - Does it Really Work?

As a pharmacist, I hear from clients asking if putting duct tape on warts would help get rid of them on their children's hands and feet. The answer? Possibly.

The Research Studies...

duct tape on warts removalIn a 2002 study, duct tape applied to the warts was shown to be effective in making the warts go away. It was shown to be even more effective than using the freezing method (cryotherapy)!

This published study was reported to the media and it immediately created attention. The general public caught on and began talking all about it. Because of all the attention, more researchers got very interested resulting in two additional research studies, one done in 2006 and another one in 2007.

Unfortunately, these two newer studies both which were designed much better, showed no benefit in using duct tape on warts. This was a big blow and the negative results seemed to contradict the positive results from the original study in 2002.


There are two things that were different in the newer studies compared to the older one that was done in 2002.

The first one was that the newer studies used transparent duct tape. The second was that the volunteers in the study were older adults.

Would these two differences matter?
, indeed it can make a huge difference!

It was discovered afterwards that the transparent duct tape does not contain the same rubber-type adhesive as in the original gray duct tape. In theory, the rubber-type material could stimulate the immune system and irritate the warts differently.

The researchers choose the transparent duct tape so that the volunteers and the researchers could not tell who got which treatment. This is a fundamental reasearch design called double-blinding. It is to avoid the placebo effect.

Moreover, the original 2002 study was done on children while the newer 2007 study had mostly adults (indeed the average age of the volunteers were 54). Younger children's immune system works differently than in adults.

That means gray duct tape could still work!

Correct. The new studies were not exactly the same as the original study and therefore, they do not contradict the results from the original study. Moreover, there's little risk is trying this technique.

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How to Use Duct Tape on Warts

  1. picture of warts plantarApply a small piece of duct tape covering the wart and leave it one for 1 week. Cover the duct tape with a bandage.

  2. Remove the bandage and duct tape after the seventh day.

  3. On the eighth day, soak the wart in water and use an emery board to scrape off the wart lightly.

  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 for up to 2 months or until the wart is gone.

If the skin becomes irritated, you can stop the treatment for several days allowing the skin to return to normal. Then start the procedure over again.

See our article Warts if you want to get answers to commonly asked questions such as "Does duct tape remove warts?" and many others.

As well, there are many other natural remedies for warts that can be quite effective for wart removal. Several of these remedies are supported by scientific studies too!

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Related Articles and Resources for Duct Tape on Warts Removal

Natural Remedies for Warts - What can I Use?

Get Answers to Your Questions on Warts

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References for Duct Tape on Warts
Created: June 30, 2010

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