Harvard Health Letter

Duct tape, warts and all

Duct tape brings out our inventive, slightly kooky side. People use it to make everything from wallets to fake roses. In a brief ramble around the Internet, we stumbled on a Web site running a contest for the best prom outfit made out of the stuff.

Given this versatility, it wasn't so surprising when a group of doctors in Ohio reported that duct tape could get rid of warts. Their study showed that covering warts with duct tape was a lot more effective than cryotherapy, an accepted treatment that involves freezing warts with liquid nitrogen. It was just the kind of offbeat finding that launches a thousand headlines.

Warts are a response to infection by the human papillomavirus. Skin cells divide and extra layers of tissue heap up, forming a hard bump. They're usually harmless, but depending on the location, warts can be uncomfortable — and, of course, unsightly.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »