Flat Warts Overview

Treating Flat Warts

Although flat warts are inconvenient, most of them will go away on their own as the body's immune system targets the virus that causes them. This can takes months to several years. Treating individual warts does not prevent new ones from occurring if the virus is still active in the body. So, if the warts aren't causing you any pain and they're not spreading, it may be best to leave them alone.

Using over-the-counter wart treatments, such as products that contain salicylic acid, may be somewhat effective at removing individual warts. These products dissolve the epidermis, or the top layer of skin, and when they're used consistently over a long period of time can successfully remove the infected skin. Before applying the medicine, it's a good idea to soak the warts in warm water and scrub them with a pumice stone. This process removes the dead skin and allows the medication to make contact with the wart [source: VisualDx Health].

However, if you have flat warts on your face or if the warts begin to spread quickly, consult a doctor. Doctors have access to a larger variety of treatment options, including cryotherapy (freezing off the warts), immunotherapy medications and medications that are injected directly into the wart [source: Cleveland Clinic].

If you have flat warts, hopefully you've learned a few ways to prevent them and treat them. If they're still not on their way out of your life, follow the links below for more information.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Aetna InteliHealth. "Warts." (Accessed 8/5/2009) http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WS/9339/10988.html
  • American Academy of Family Physicians. "Duct Tape More Effective than Cryotherapy for Warts." 2/01/03. (Accessed 8/8/09). http://www.aafp.org/afp/20030201/tips/8.html
  • Cleveland Clinic. "Warts: An Overview." (Accessed 8/5/2009)http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/warts/hic_Warts_An_Overview.aspx
  • Cleveland Clinic. "Warts: Treatment." (Accessed 8/5/2009)http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/warts/derm_treatment.aspx
  • Kidshealth from Nemours. "What's up With Warts?" (Accessed 8/6/2009)http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/aches/warts.html#
  • Medical News Today. "Duct Tape and Other Treatments for Warts." (Accessed 8/5/2009)http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/17335.php
  • The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library. "Warts." (Accessed 8/5/2009)http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec10/ch122/ch122c.html
  • VisualDx Health. "Flat Wart: A parent's guide to condition and treatment information." (Accessed 8/6/2009)http://www.visualdxhealth.com/child/flatWart.htm
  • Warts Information Center. "Flat Warts." (Accessed 8/6/2009)http://www.warts.org/flat-warts.html
  • Warts Information Center. "Duct Tape Wart Removal." (Accessed 8/6/2009)http://www.warts.org/duct-tape-wart-removal.html