What Causes Facial Warts?

Updated April 17, 2017

Facial warts are growths on the skin. They are normally flat and pink, but they can range in colour from red to dark brown. Although they are usually benign and do not cause any pain, people may find them bothersome for cosmetic reasons. This, combined with the fact that warts are contagious, lead most people to have their warts removed. To understand why certain treatment methods are effective, it is important to understand what causes warts.

Common Causes

Warts are usually caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is commonly thought of as the virus that can lead to cervical cancer. While this is true, there are more than 100 strains of the HPV virus. Some strains cause different types of warts, from skin (such as the face) to genital to plantar (on the foot). Because warts are contagious, touching the wart or something that has come into contact with the wart, such as clothing, can also lead warts being passed from 1 person to another.

Topical Ointments

Topical ointments with Vitamin A are one way to remove facial warts. Ointments with aloe vera can also be helpful. Be sure to put the ointment only on the affected area or there is a chance that the ointment could affect the healthy skin around the wart. Only use a product that does not contain any acid to reduce the chances of damaging the surrounding skin. Consult a doctor for specific product suggestions.

Natural Remedies

Castor oil is a popular method for removing warts. Rub castor oil on the wart before bedtime so that it can work to dissolve the wart overnight. Sesame oil or onion juice (not at the same time) may also be used. Placing a small piece of garlic on the wart and holding it in place with a bandage overnight is another method. While those things should be done on a daily basis until the wart is gone, some people elect to rub a raw potato slice on the wart several times a day until the wart is gone. These methods may work better for some people than others.

Wart Removal at the Doctor

Doctors commonly use cryotherapy to remove warts. This involves freezing the wart off with liquid nitrogen. The liquid nitrogen can destroy the virus and the wart will fall off after a few days. Pain during the procedure and for a few days afterward is expected. Although there is not normally any scarring, there may be some discolouration where the liquid nitrogen was applied. Laser surgery is a similar method, with similar results, that can also be used.

Warts That Reappear

Although repeat treatments may be needed, once a wart is gone, it usually stays gone. When the "roots" of the wart have been killed, there is no reason for the wart to reappear. The immune system can usually kill any residual bits of the wart on its own. However, just as some people are more susceptible to warts than others, some warts are more difficult to get rid of and they do come back. If this happens, contact a doctor.


It is a good idea to consult a doctor before attempting to remove any facial warts. A doctor may also provide assistance when over-the-counter treatments are not working. In addition, a doctor can use removal methods that can reduce visible damage after the wart has been removed, which is especially important with facial warts.

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About the Author

Michelle Furlong has been writing off and on for 20 years. She has been working for Demand Studios since April of 2009 and her work can be seen on Furlong attended Georgia Perimeter College and Georgia State University.