wart...what is it good for?
March 25, 2011 5:18 AM   Subscribe

Wart on my lip. Might it resolve itself, or do I need to have it removed?

I have an unsightly wart on my lip, since about a month or two ago. It is definitely a wart, not a cold sore or a canker or what-have-you, as it has the classic cauliflower look that I've seen on my foot before. Do I need to go to a dermatologist if I want it gone (hassle and money), or do these eventually go away by themselves? Is there an at-home treatment I can use? I'm obviously a little wary of applying salicylic acid to my mouth.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have had warts go away by themselves, but this would be a number of years after they appeared. If it's on your lip, I'd definitely go get some treatment for it. As to at-home treatments I've had for warts? You don't want that shit on your lips. Ewww. It's gross enough on your hands, and it pretty much burned out the wart, and everything in a 2-3mm radius.
posted by pompomtom at 5:27 AM on March 25, 2011

I've never had much success with at-home treatments, and definitely, I don't think you should be putting that stuff that close to your mouth. I vote going to see a doctor, and if they think it's safe and will do it, get it frozen and removed.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 5:53 AM on March 25, 2011

Agreed. If you can afford to go to a dermatologist (or better yet, a plastic surgeon if you can swing it; even though they'll do basically the same procedure they're a little more aesthetically careful, which might be important for you since it's on your face) then definitely go.

My brother and dad are extremely warty and have battled their warts with home treatments for years. After one short trip to a plastic surgeon friend of ours: boom, gone. Just like that. Amazing. It was kind of sad to see how much time, money, pain, energy they wasted trying to take care of the warts themselves when it was all over just a few minutes after sitting down in the office.
posted by phunniemee at 6:13 AM on March 25, 2011

I've had a wart on my hands that, after I tried to remove it with OTC treatments, spread all over my hands (literally hundreds of warts) that had to be removed by a dermatologist with liquid nitrogen. I'd hate for that to happen on someone's face! Go see a dermatologist.
posted by xingcat at 6:32 AM on March 25, 2011

According to the internet, they will go away by themselves, but in my experience this could take years and years. I have had a small wart on my hand for over 8 years at this point and it is just starting to disappear.
posted by muddgirl at 7:07 AM on March 25, 2011

I had plantar warts on my feet for years and then they spread to my fingers so I had to do something. I ended up taking mega doses of vitamin C (like 5,000 - 6,000 units (mg?) a day) and they went away. That was more than 15 years ago. So it might be worth a try until you can get in to see a dermatologist.
posted by dawkins_7 at 7:33 AM on March 25, 2011

Some kinds of warts multiply. I wouldn't mess with this on my face. Get it taken care of.
posted by Ys at 7:37 AM on March 25, 2011

I've had a wart on my face. My dermatologist first tried treating it with a particular kind of ointment that is often used for treating genital warts, because in both cases the tissues are delicate.

Which was not so great when I had to pick it up from the cute pharmacist. ("Do you know how this works?" "Oh yes. They said I should put it ON MY FACE because that's where my problem is, NOT ANYWHERE ELSE, okay?")

Unfortunately, that particular treatment -- while not painful -- somehow led to me getting a staph infection. Eventually they just scraped/burned it off, and although it was a little traumatizing to leave the office with an unexpected seeping wound, it was coverable by a band-aid and healed in a week or so.

Get it taken care of.
posted by Madamina at 7:56 AM on March 25, 2011

Go to a dermatologist.

I had a plantar wart on the pad of my big toe that sprouted three tiny satellite warts after I had been putting OTC shit on it for over a year. Plus I tried duct tape, lemons, potatoes, you name it. I went and got several painful nitrogen treatments from a GP that still didn't make the damn things go away.

I went to a dermatologist who compounded an RX cream on the spot, and they were gone in a week. I haven't had one since, even though I had plantar warts off and on throughout childhood. Especially if this is on your face, you want a lotion type solution, not surgery.
posted by Leta at 11:53 AM on March 25, 2011

If you want a home remedy try a piece of banana peel covered by a bandaid. Leave it on (refreshing the peel every couple days) for about 2 weeks. The wart will dry up and fall off afterwards.
posted by zia at 3:38 PM on March 25, 2011

I have had 100% success treating warts at home with organic apple-cider vinegar. Dip a small cotton ball in the vinegar, apply it to the wart and hold it in place with a band-aid overnight. Repeat. In my experience, the wart turns brown, shrinks and falls off in 3 to 7 days, depending on its size and tenacity. Having said this: IANAD and I've never had a wart on my face. You wouldn't want repeat doses of vinegar on non-infected skin.
posted by Paris Elk at 3:46 AM on March 26, 2011

Yet another reason one shouldn't take this an opportunity to DIY, or play doctor:
Sex Transm Dis. 2010 Jun;37(6):386-91.
Oral human papillomavirus in healthy individuals: a systematic review of the literature.

Kreimer AR, Bhatia RK, Messeguer AL, González P, Herrero R, Giuliano AR.

National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA. kreimera@mail.nih.gov

CONCLUSIONS: HPV-16, a common anogenital infection, was rarely detected in oral specimens. However, a small but noteworthy proportion of healthy individuals have oral HPV infections with types known to cause cancer in the oral region.

PMID: 20081557 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 12:45 PM on March 26, 2011

This sounds woo, but hypnosis/"imagery" has a good track record with getting rid of warts.

Here are some studies showing successful de-wartification with that kind of approach:


And "hypnosis" doesn't really mean much more, in this context, than using your imagination. So if you have a few weeks to spare, why not try it? At night before going to sleep, just spend five minutes imagining your lips the way you'd like them to be. Make the image as vivid as you can.

Then if that doesn't work? Make an appointment with the dermatologist.
posted by hungrytiger at 5:47 PM on March 27, 2011

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