How Might A Dermatologist Treat Warts?

If you have warts on your hands, feet, or other parts of your body, then it is a good idea to visit a dermatologist. Yes, there are over-the-counter treatments for warts, but they can take a while to work, and they don't always work for more stubborn warts. Here are some of the treatments a dermatologist might administer for your warts.


Cryotherapy is the treatment dermatologists will recommend for most small to medium warts. As the name suggests, it involves the use of very cold substances to basically freeze the wart. Usually, the substance used is liquid nitrogen.

Cryotherapy isn't terribly painful. It can hurt a little when the liquid nitrogen is actually being placed on the wart, but afterward, most patients experience just a mild ache and irritation, if anything. After cryotherapy, the wart will slowly die off in the next week or two. It should then peel off, and the area around it should heal. Some stubborn warts may need two or three treatments in order to be done away with completely.


For larger warts and those that don't respond well to cryotherapy, your dermatologist might recommend cantharidin. This is a powerful substance that actually causes your skin to blister wherever it is applied. When cantharidin is applied to your wart, it will cause the skin under the wart to blister. This will essentially cut the wart off from its blood supply and cause it to die.

Cantharidin application can be a bit painful, and you will develop an ugly blood blister after treatment. However, this treatment is really effective, especially for plantar warts and others located in tougher, callused skin.

Chemical Peels

If you have lots of tiny warts spread over a certain area, then your dermatologist may recommend a chemical peel. A strong solution of salicylic acid or another acid is applied to the entire area. It causes the outer layer of the skin to peel away. The warts will often peel along with it.

Chemical peels only work well for small warts. They do cause the entire treated area to become red, irritated, and peeling for a week or more, so they are not often the best option for warts on the face or other highly visible areas. 

Warts can be tough to treat, and every wart is different. A dermatologist can take a look and let you know which of the above treatment options is best for you.