What Are Facial Warts and How to Remove Them According to an Expert

Facial warts can be a bothersome and confidence-denting skin condition. Understanding what facial warts are and how to safely and effectively remove them is essential. In this article, we delve into the details of facial warts, exploring their causes, prevention strategies, and expert-recommended removal methods. Whether you’re dealing with a single wart or a cluster, this guide equips you with valuable insights to make informed decisions about your skin health.

What are facial warts?

Facial warts are benign (non-cancerous) growths on the skin caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). These warts appear on the face, typically on the forehead, cheeks, chin, or around the mouth and nose. They can vary in size, color, and texture and may be raised or flat.

Facial warts are usually not painful, but they can be bothersome due to their appearance. They often have a rough surface and might resemble cauliflower in texture. Facial warts are contagious and can spread through direct skin-to-skin contact or by touching objects that have come in contact with the wart. They are more likely to develop in areas with cuts, scratches, or broken skin, as the virus can enter the body more easily through such openings.

What causes facial warts

Facial warts are caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a group of viruses that can infect the skin and mucous membranes, leading to the development of warts. There are many different types of HPV, but only a few strains are responsible for causing warts on the face and other areas of the body.

The virus enters the body through small cuts, breaks, or openings in the skin. Once inside, it can cause the skin cells to grow rapidly, resulting in the formation of a wart. HPV is contagious and can be spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. It can also be spread indirectly through objects that have come into contact with an infected wart.

Factors that increase the risk of developing facial warts:

  1. Direct Contact: Coming into contact with an infected person’s wart can increase the likelihood of contracting the virus.
  2. Weakened Immune System: Individuals with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to HPV infections and may have a higher risk of developing warts.
  3. Skin Trauma: Cuts, scratches, or other forms of skin trauma create openings through which the virus can enter the body more easily.
  4. Warm and Moist Environments: HPV thrives in warm, moist environments, which is why places like swimming pools and public showers can increase the risk of transmission.
  5. Personal Hygiene: Poor personal hygiene and not washing hands regularly can contribute to the spread of the virus.

Types of facial warts

Several types of warts can affect the face. These warts are caused by different strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and vary in appearance and characteristics. Here are some common types of facial warts:

Common Warts (Verruca Vulgaris):

Common warts are one of the most prevalent types of warts and can appear on various parts of the face, including the forehead, cheeks, chin, and near the mouth and nose. They are typically small, rough, and raised. Their texture can resemble that of a cauliflower. Common warts often have a grayish-brown or flesh-colored appearance. These warts can sometimes have tiny black dots on the surface, which are clotted blood vessels. They may be painless, but their rough texture and appearance can be bothersome.

Flat Warts (Verruca Plana):

Flat warts are characterized by their small, flat, or slightly raised appearance. They often occur in larger numbers, forming clusters that can be anywhere from a few to dozens of warts grouped. These warts tend to be smoother and less textured than common warts. They can range in color from pink and light brown to yellow. Flat warts are more commonly found on the faces of children and young adults, particularly on the forehead and cheeks.

Filiform Warts:

Filiform warts are distinct due to their elongated, finger-like shape. They often appear around the eyes, mouth, and nose, as well as on the neck and sometimes the eyelids. Filiform warts are usually flesh-colored or slightly darker. Because of their location, they can be particularly bothersome and may cause embarrassment due to their appearance.

Periungual Warts:

Periungual warts are warts that develop around the nails, most commonly on the fingers but also the toes. These warts can grow under or around the nail, potentially affecting its shape and growth. They can cause discomfort and pain, especially when they grow near the nail bed. If not treated promptly, periungual warts can lead to nail deformities.

Plantar Warts:

While plantar warts primarily occur on the soles of the feet, they can also extend to the toes and even the sides of the feet, including the heels. They tend to be flat and grow inward due to pressure from walking and standing. Plantar warts can cause discomfort or pain when walking, as they are subjected to pressure and friction. They often have a rough texture with small, pinpoint black dots.

How to remove facial warts

  1. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Treatments:
    • Salicylic Acid: OTC creams, gels, or adhesive pads containing salicylic acid are commonly used to treat warts. Apply the product directly to the wart after gently soaking the area. The acid gradually breaks down the wart tissue, and you can then gently remove the softened layers. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and be patient, as this method can take several weeks to show results.
  2. Cryotherapy:
    • Liquid Nitrogen: A dermatologist can use liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart. This causes the wart to form a blister and eventually fall off. Cryotherapy is effective, but multiple sessions might be needed, and there may be some discomfort during the treatment.
  3. Electrocautery:
    • Electrical Burning: In this procedure, a dermatologist uses an electrical current to burn the wart tissue. Local anesthesia might be used to minimize pain. The procedure is quick and often leaves a small wound that heals over time.
  4. Laser Therapy:
    • Laser Removal: A dermatologist uses a laser to target and destroy the blood vessels that supply the wart. This causes the wart tissue to die and eventually slough off. Laser therapy is precise and may require multiple sessions for complete removal.
  5. Prescription Medications:
    • Imiquimod Cream: This prescription cream stimulates the immune system to attack the wart virus. It’s applied at home as directed by your dermatologist.
  6. Surgical Removal:
    • Excision: A dermatologist can surgically remove the wart using a scalpel or other surgical instruments. Stitches may be needed to close the wound, and this method might leave a scar.
    • Cauterization: Surgical removal followed by cauterization (burning) of the wart base can help prevent regrowth.
  7. Home Remedies:
    • While there are numerous home remedies suggested online, their effectiveness is often questionable, and some can be harmful. It’s advisable to consult a dermatologist before attempting any home remedies to avoid causing irritation or further complications.
  8. Professional Removal:
    • Dermatologist’s Expertise: It’s recommended to consult a dermatologist for safe and effective removal, especially for facial warts. They can accurately diagnose the wart type and recommend the most suitable removal method to minimize scarring and ensure proper healing.

Home remedies for facial warts

  1. Duct Tape Occlusion:
    • Apply a small piece of duct tape directly over the wart and leave it on for about 6 days.
    • After removing the tape, soak the wart in warm water and gently exfoliate the softened skin with a pumice stone or an emery board.
    • Repeat the process until the wart disappears. This method is thought to suffocate the wart and stimulate the immune system.
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV):
    • Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and apply it directly to the wart.
    • Secure the cotton ball with a bandage or tape and leave it on overnight.
    • Repeat daily until the wart shrinks or disappears. ACV is believed to help break down the wart tissue.
  3. Tea Tree Oil:
    • Dilute tea tree oil with water or a carrier oil, such as coconut oil.
    • Apply the diluted oil to the wart using a cotton ball or a clean fingertip.
    • Cover the area with a bandage and leave it on for a few hours or overnight.
    • Repeat daily until the wart is gone. Tea tree oil has potential antiviral and antiseptic properties.
  4. Banana Peel:
    • Cut a small piece of banana peel and place it over the wart with the inner side against the skin.
    • Secure it with tape or a bandage and leave it on overnight.
    • Repeat nightly until the wart disappears. Some believe that enzymes in the banana peel can break down the wart.
  5. Garlic:
    • Crush a garlic clove to release its juices.
    • Apply the juice to the wart and cover it with a bandage.
    • Leave it on for a few hours or overnight.
    • Repeat daily. Garlic is thought to have antiviral and antibacterial properties.
  6. Vitamin C Paste:
    • Crush a vitamin C tablet and mix it with a small amount of water to form a paste.
    • Apply the paste to the wart and cover with a bandage.
    • Repeat daily until the wart diminishes. Vitamin C can have a mild exfoliating effect.

FAQs about facial warts

What are facial warts?

Facial warts are benign growths on the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They can appear on various parts of the face, including the forehead, cheeks, chin, and around the mouth and nose. Facial warts vary in size, texture, and color.

Are facial warts contagious?

Yes, facial warts are contagious. They can be spread through direct skin-to-skin contact or by touching objects that have come into contact with an infected wart. It’s important to avoid touching or picking at warts to prevent their spread.

How can I prevent facial warts?

To reduce the risk of developing facial warts, practice good hygiene, avoid direct contact with warts, and keep the skin clean and dry. If you come into contact with warts, wash your hands thoroughly. Using separate towels and avoiding sharing personal items can also help prevent transmission.

Can I treat facial warts at home?

While there are home remedies suggested for treating facial warts, it’s recommended to consult a dermatologist before attempting any treatment at home. Some remedies may cause skin irritation or worsen the condition. Professional guidance ensures safe and effective removal.

When should I see a dermatologist for facial warts?

It’s advisable to see a dermatologist if you’re uncertain about whether a growth is a wart, if the wart is causing pain or discomfort if it’s spreading rapidly, or if you’ve tried home remedies without success. Dermatologists can provide accurate diagnoses and recommend appropriate treatments.

Are there any complications associated with facial warts?

Facial warts are generally harmless, but they can cause emotional distress due to their appearance. There’s also a risk of spreading warts to other areas of the face or body. Scratching or picking at warts can lead to infection or scarring.

Can I remove facial warts by cutting them off?

Attempting to cut off a facial wart yourself can lead to infection, scarring, and bleeding. It’s best to have warts removed by a dermatologist using proper techniques to minimize these risks.

Can facial warts come back after treatment?

Yes, facial warts can sometimes recur after treatment, especially if the underlying virus is still present in the body. Regular check-ups with a dermatologist and following proper hygiene practices can help prevent recurrence.

Can makeup be applied over facial warts?

While makeup can be used to conceal facial warts, it’s important to avoid using makeup directly on the wart itself, as this can irritate the skin or introduce bacteria. Applying makeup around the wart can help camouflage it.

Can I remove facial warts on my own?

It’s not recommended to attempt removing facial warts on your own, as this can lead to complications such as infection, scarring, or the spread of warts. Professional evaluation and treatment by a dermatologist are the safest and most effective options.


Understanding what facial warts are and how to remove them safely is crucial for maintaining healthy and clear skin. By following expert advice, adopting prevention strategies, and seeking medical guidance, you can effectively manage facial warts and regain your confidence. Remember, consulting a qualified dermatologist is the best way to determine the most suitable treatment for your individual case.

Image Credit: Image by prostooleh on Freepik

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