Do you struggle with warts? Although harmless, warts can be bothersome and unattractive to many individuals. Unfortunately, many people will have at least one wart in their lifetime. Fortunately, medical advancements over the last several years have introduced a variety of treatment options that have become available to safely, yet effectively, remove warts from the skin.
Freezing warts has been a popular choice for wart removal due to the rapidness of the procedure. Also referred to as cryotherapy, freezing warts involves applying liquid nitrogen, an extremely cold substance, to the affected area that causes the wart to fall off. Although the process of freezing warts is quick, cryotherapy can be painful. So how can a wart be removed effectively, but without the pain? The answer may surprise you: it is called Cantharidin a.k.a. Beetlejuice.
What is Cantharidin?
Cantharidin has been given the nickname “Beetlejuice” due to its origin in the blister beetle. Used as a chemical defense to protect their eggs against predators, blister beetles produce the blistering agent, Cantharidin, to form a blister bubble to keep their eggs out of harm’s way. According to information provided by DermNet.org, the use of Cantharidin to treat warts was introduced in western medicine during the 1950s. Over the course of the last 60 years, several studies have been conducted to evaluate Cantharidin as a safe and effective wart remover.
How does Cantharidin work?
Cantharidin is a vesicant (a blistering-causing agent) that creates a controlled blister to form underneath the skin. Cantharidin will trigger the release of an enzyme that breaks down the cells holding the skin together. Due to the lack of oxygen inside the blister, warts will dry up and separate from the skin, eventually falling off. Because this action does not go beyond the epidermal cells, the basal layer is unaffected. The result? No scars!
How is Cantharidin applied?
After a thorough consultation, your provider will apply Cantharidin topically to the warts that are being treated. Once applied, your provider will cover the treatment area with a bandage and the treatment is complete. It’s that simple!
For the best results, Beetlejuice should be washed off within 4 hours of treatment. After a few days, the wart will become detached and fall off on its own. Typically, just one application of Beetlejuice is sufficient to effectively remove a wart, but some patients may need additional treatments.
The Skin Clinic at MidAmerica Plastic Surgery is excited to offer our patients in the southern Illinois and St. Louis a painless option for wart removal. To schedule an appointment with our lead skin clinic provider, Laura McKinzie, FNP-BC, call our office at 618-288-7855 or fill out a contact form here.