Old wives’ tales may say that you get warts from handling frogs, but you could never touch a frog in your life and still end up with warts. Somewhere between 10-20% of children get skin warts, and they are most prevalent in children between age 12 and 16. Although they are harmless, warts can be annoying and embarrassing for young children. Many parents do whatever they can to help their kids get rid of warts.
Even though they may be pesky, figuring out how to get rid of warts on kids is as easy as reading below!
How Do Kids Get Warts?
Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). These noncancerous skin growths form when HPV invades the skin via a tiny cut or scratch. Once under your skin, the virus causes a rapid growth of cells that grow on the outer layer of the skin.
There are a few types of skin warts:
- Common warts (found on the fingers and the backs of hands)
- Plantar warts (found on feet, typically the soles)
- Palmer warts (found on the palms of hands)
- Filiform warts (found on chins or noses)
Warts can come from many places. If your child has a compromised immune system, he or she is more likely to develop warts. Children are also susceptible if they bite their nails because it causes tiny cuts in their skin. But even children that have neither a weaker immune system nor bad nail habits are vulnerable to warts.
Juvenile Wart Prevention Tips
There is no surefire way to prevent warts. The virus can be picked up in multiple ways, so there is also no universal cure for warts. But, there are a few things you can do to lessen the risk of warts.
- When at a public shower or pool have your children wear flip-flops or pool shoes
- Have your children each use their own bath towel and hand towel
- If your child has plantar warts, consider spraying a dilute bleach solution in the shower once they’re done showering
- Make sure your children are washing their hands regularly
- Help your kids keep their skin healthy, moisturized, and free of open cuts
At-Home Wart Solutions
Most warts will go away after a while, even if untreated, but if you are impatient or have a stubborn wart that won’t leave, there are a few treatments you can try.
Perhaps the most popular (and definitely the cheapest) wart removal method is the old “duct tape trick.” This method is effective because it blocks oxygen from getting to the wart, which stops it from growing.
- Cut off a strip of duct tape that is roughly the same size as the wart.
- Put the tape on the wart for six days — replace the tape if it falls off.
- Once the six days are up, remove the tape and soak the wart in water. Then, gently rub the wart with an emery board or a pumice stone.
- Let the wart breathe overnight.
- Repeat the process the next day. Keep at it until the wart has disappeared.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil contains antiviral and antiseptic properties that fight HPV well. When you apply the oil, you are reducing the size of the wart by halting the development of the infection and drying it out to the point where it will fall off naturally.
- Wash your hands and the wart thoroughly.
- Apply a drop of tea tree oil to the wart.
- Place a bandage over the wart and leave it for at least eight hours.
- Remove the bandage and clean the area.
- Repeat the process until the wart falls off (1-4 weeks).
Thyme Essential Oil
If you want perhaps the strongest home wart removal remedy for kids, then you want thyme essential oil.
- After bathing, apply two drops of thyme essential oil diluted in a carrier oil to the wart. Give a little extra to the center of the wart.
- Once the surface of the wart dies, the wart will be covered in dead skin. Use a pumice stone to rub off the dead skin.
- Once all the dead skin is pumiced, re-apply the thyme essential oil after bathing (soak in the bath a little longer to soften the skin).
- Do this three or more times a week to effectively kill the surface of the wart.
If you want to get serious about your wart removal, then your next step should be the pharmacy. There are plenty of over-the-counter wart removal products that can accelerate the wart’s death and help you get your or your child’s skin back to normal. You can use freezing spray, gels, ointments, liquids, or pads to greaten the chance of the wart being killed. The only downside of using these solutions is that they may not freeze the wart deep enough to be effective, and it can also be painful due to the fact that the treatment has to be on the wart for quite a while to be effective.
If you’ve tried all other options without success and you are sick and tired of the warts, then it may be time to talk to your primary care provider or dermatologist about cryotherapy. This is a two step process that removes the wart without hurting or damaging the skin around it. The treatment is performed at your provider’s office and involves your provider using a special type of “pen” to freeze the root of the wart. This procedure can be uncomfortable but not too painful. The recovery is minimal; your child will be able to enjoy all of their usual activities, and there is rarely any scar left behind.
Healthy Kids = Happy Kids
Even though warts are not dangerous and are typically not painful, they can definitely be annoying. If you don’t want to wait for the wart to fall off by itself, any of these treatments will help you or your child’s warts fall off faster.
Want to learn more about how to keep your kids as healthy and happy as possible? Read up on our blog post about fruits and vegetables for kids today!