How Long Does It Take for Cryotherapy to Work on Warts? banner

By westgate March 10, 2021

How Long Does It Take for Cryotherapy to Work on Warts?

Contrary to what you might have heard on the playground as a kid, you cannot get a wart from touching or kissing a frog or toad. Although some frogs do have bumps on them that may appear to look like warts, those bumps are glands – not warts!

What is a wart?

Warts are actually caused by a type of human papillomavirus (HPV) virus. This virus causes extra cells to grow on your skin and it’s the build-up of these cells that cause the thick, hard spot on your skin. The spots may also have tiny black dots – those are actually tiny blood clots. While most people can fight off the HPV virus, young people and those with compromised immune systems may be more susceptible to getting warts. It’s also important to know that warts are highly contagious and can be easily spread if you use the same towels or other hygiene products as someone who has a wart, especially if you have areas of broken skin.

Can you treat warts at home?

While warts aren’t cancerous, many people wish to make them disappear as quickly as possible – especially if they are in a prominent location like on your hands or face. There are over-the-counter methods that you can try at home to dissolve the wart. Products containing salicylic acid can be used daily, along with soaking and sanding the area, to treat the wart. Unfortunately, this process may take several months to see results and sometimes the wart simply won’t respond to these at-home treatments.

How does freezing work?

Cryotherapy is a method that can be performed in your doctor’s office to freeze the wart with liquid nitrogen. Also called cryosurgery, the process involves shaving dead skin off the wart prior to applying the liquid nitrogen to the area. This will cause a blister and scab to form that eventually falls off. Some people may only need one treatment and see results in a week or so. However, the wart may require 2-3 treatments several weeks apart to fully treat the wart.

Can you freeze a wart at home?

You may see freezing products that can be administered at home. These will not be made with liquid nitrogen, but rather a combination of other acids at a low concentration. Smaller warts may respond well to these at-home freezing methods, but it may not fully go away.

Is this a one-and-done process? 

Maybe. Some warts will go away and never return. But it is possible for warts to reappear if the HPV virus stays in the skin and your immune system cannot fight the virus. It is also possible to get new warts in different locations of your body. If you have a broken area of skin that comes into contact with the virus, another wart can form. 

Can anyone have cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy isn’t for everyone. People with darker skin may experience pigment changes in the treated areas. The process can be uncomfortable, even painful, for some people, so it is not recommended for small children.

If you have a wart that won’t go away or if you want to treat a wart with freezing, contact the primary care doctors at Westgate Family Physicians to schedule a cryotherapy appointment in Spartanburg. Call (864) 574-0070 or click here to schedule an appointment.