The use of duct tape to treat warts or verrucae has a bit of a cult following as a home remedy. There are plenty of anecdotes that if you put some duct tape over a wart you can get rid of it. The clinical trials on its effectiveness are not that good.
There are several theories or ideas as to how the duct tape does help warts:
- It could “suffocate” the wart of ‘air’ and it ‘dies’
- The maceration (increase in moisture in the skin) under the duct tape may affect the wart and that is not a good environment for it
- The occlusion by the tape prevents it spreading to other parts of the skin and getting worse. keeping it covered will also help preventing the spread to others.
- Chemicals in the duct tapes adhesive may trigger an immune response that also helps get rid of the wart
- It may facilitate the absorption into the skin if applied over a medication used to treat the wart
- It does not work and the natural history of the wart is to get better anyway and any “success” with the duct tape was merely coincidental