Treatment of warts by keratolysis
Keratolysis is the removal of dead surface skin cells and is a treatment for several types of wart. The most common keratolytic treatment of warts available over-the-counter involve salicylic acid. These products are readily available at most drugstores and supermarkets. There are typically two types of products: adhesive pads treated with salicylic acid, or a bottle of concentrated salicylic acid. Removing a wart with this method requires a strict regimen of cleaning the area, applying the salicylic acid, and removing the dead skin with a pumice stone or emery board. It may take up to 12 weeks to remove a stubborn wart.
Some formulations are:
- alcoholic solution containing glycerol
- collodion which dries to a celluloid film / Duofilm
- simple ointment
- absorption ointment
- oil in water cream
The amount of salicylic acid reaching the wart varies substantially depending on the formulation used. Brands in the UK include Bazuka (Dendron), Scholl (SSL International), Compound W, Cuplex gel, Duofilm (Stiefel), Occlusal (Alliance), Salatac Gel, Salactol Paint, and Verrugon (Ransom).
Molecular basis of therapeutic effect
- Salicylic acid reaches warts; lactic acid and collodion do not. Therefore, these additional components have only an indirect role in therapy.
- The molecular structure of the skin is altered at the centre of the wart.
- Experiments indicated that salicylic acid bonding within the human papillomavirus-containing verruca tissue is more likely than simple acid dissociation upon dissolution in water within the tissue.
- ^ J Drug Target. 1998;5(5):343-51. PMID 9771616
- ^ Int J Pharm. 1999 Oct 25;188(2):145-53. PMID 10518670
- ^ Dermatol Clin. 1990 Jan;8(1):143-6. PMID 2302853
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