Warts, also known as verrucas, are a common skin problem, especially on the hands and feet. Warts develop due to an infection of a strain of the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Once infected, the virus alters the growth of skin cells on your body, causing them to grow abnormally into the form of a wart. When warts occur, there are many over-the-counter wart removers available on the market. Most of these removers include the active ingredient salicylic acid, which can potentially cause side effects.
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Skin irritation is one of the most common side effects of wart removers due to the presence of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid can cause a stinging and burning sensation, especially on areas of broken skin on the wart, states the New Zealand Dermatological Society.
Wart removers may also cause an allergic reaction in individuals who are allergic to salicylic acid or any other additive to the remover. Common signs of allergic reaction include swelling, itching, hives, rash, shortness of breath or wheezing. If you have never used the product before, apply only a small amount to a test area of skin to ensure that no allergic reaction occurs before applying the wart remover.
Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding
It is important to talk to your doctor before using a wart remover while pregnant or breast-feeding. The salicylic acid in most wart removers has not yet been determined to be absolutely safe to use while pregnant, states Drugs.com. Salicylic acid when applied to a wart can be absorbed by the skin into the bloodstream, potentially affecting your fetus. Salicylic acid may also pass into your breast milk if absorbed by the skin.
It is also recommended that you talk to your doctor before using a wart remover if you are afflicted by any of the following diseases: kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes or problems with circulation due to possible problems with toxicity. This is more common with oral doses of salicylic acid, but it is still better to be safe and discuss wart removal options with your doctor before applying a remover to your wart.