Putting Super Glue on Warts: Does it Kill Warts?

A simple DIY project at home can lead to a sticky experience if you get the super glue on your skin. Sometimes it even glues the fingers together or may stick the skin with DIY tools.

Though getting super glue on the skin is not a pleasing experience, you might be surprised to know that people are using the super glue for warts!

Super glue is divided into two different types as per their use. First is used by various professionals and industries to glue the two different objects (you can find it in your toolbox) while another glue is specifically designed to use by medical professionals to glue the two edges of cuts.

The latter one is medicated and should be kept in the first aid box.

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Medicated super glue usually has ‘Cyanoacrylate’ as an active compound and is not available as an over-the-counter prescription. So, often people use industrial super glue to kill warts.

All medicated super glues are identified by a common generic name as ‘Cyanoacrylate’ and may have 2-octyl- cyanoacrylate, 2-Ethyle-cyanoacrylate, or N-2-Butyle-cyanoacrylate; the former is used in Dermabond, Indermil, Nexabond, and Histoacryl. [01]

Can super glue cure warts?

People have empirically used superglue to get rid of warts for many years. Empirical and anecdotal evidence shows that the super glue works to a certain extent removing the plantar or palmar warts. A clinical study conducted from 2014 to 2016 shows positive results when warts treated with cyanoacrylate adhesive duct tape. [02] [03]

Though super glue can help to remove palmoplantar warts to a certain extent and is generally safe to use, you should be cautious while using it, as it may cause an allergic reaction, over-heating on the skin, etc. Always perform a patch test before using it.

Why does super glue get rid of warts?

Warts are caused by human papillomavirus. They invade the epidermal cells of the skin and lead to the formation of warts. Unlike the other wart removing treatments, super-glue does not help to treat the root cause of warts i.e. getting rid of HPV.

Like duct wart removal treatment, the reason behind the successful wart removal by super glue is not certain. But it is expected that covering the wart with duct tape and super glue prevents the HPV to a certain extent from spreading further on other body parts.

Also, duct tape and super glue adhere to the outermost layer of warts and when it goes away, it might take off the part of an outer layer of wart. Often this makes you believe that your wart is shrinking.

But be informed that super glue does not treat or kill the HPV, so even though super glue successfully removes the wart, there are chances that it may reappear.

Despite popular belief, super glue and duct tape does not work by cutting off the oxygen of warts. In-depth clinical research is required to ascertain the reason behind how duct tape and super glue work to remove warts from the plantar and palmar region.

Can you suffocate a wart?

You can’t. Simply because you can’t smother something that doesn’t get oxygen from the air. Warts growing in the epidermal layer of your skin do not get it’s needed oxygen form the “air”. Instead, it gets the oxygen supply from the blood circulation within the skin vessels.

Covering warts with various home remedies like duct tapes, garlic, super glue, and even banana peel may help to a certain extent to kill the wart but it certainly not because of it ‘Smother’ the wart and leads it to suffocate. There are several other scientific reasons why these things work in removing warts, but suffocation is definitely not one of them. [04]

How to use super glue to remove a wart?

Practice the following steps to remove palmoplantar wart using the super glue. Always prefer medical-grade super glue but if used cautiously, regular super glue containing the cyanoacrylate can also do the trick.

  1. Always do a patch test on the skin with a tiny amount of super glue before applying glue directly on the wart.
  2. See if you feel any burning or allergic reaction to the patch test. If you experience an allergic reaction consult your doctor.
  3. Wash wart and surrounding area thoroughly and let it dry.
  4. Once wart becomes dry, carefully apply a thin coat of super glue on the wart.
  5. Make sure you cover the wart completely avoiding the application of glue on surrounding skin.
  6. Wait for a few seconds to let the glue dry in place.

Things to consider while applying super glue to wart –

These glues are called ‘Super glue’ for a reason. They are known to quickly form a bond between two surfaces which is exceptionally strong and hard to remove. So, always pay attention while applying glue on a wart that you accidentally not spread over normal skin.

Usually, super glue generates an excessive amount of heat when it came in contact with various natural materials leather, clothing, cotton, and wool. If you accidentally spread it over the normal skin and that glue also comes in the contact of cloths or cotton then it may cause skin burning.

Never apply super glue on the wart using the cotton ball. Instead, use a safe applicator that comes with glue. You can buy a small pack of super glue that comes with a specially designed pack that allows users to apply it safely.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis to 2-Octyl-Cyanoacrylate super glue
Surgical scars with surrounding excoriated erythematous papules coalescing into plaques on the midline lumbar back (A) and superior right buttock (B). Caused by 2-octyl cyanoacrylate. Image via – mdedge.com

There are known cases of super glue allergy. Acrylate can cause contact dermatitis. So, always perform a patch test on your skin before you start using the super glue on any body parts.

 Bottom Line: Applying super glue to warts is not a clinically approved treatment but due to anecdotal evidence people tends to use it to remove warts. It may cause a burn or allergic reaction when applied topically.

[01] Use of Tissue adhesives versus Sutures on Minor surgery for incision closure. Diogo Barros da Silva Pinto de Oliveira. Girona, January 2016 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org
[02] How did you get rid of your wart?. Comment by Reddit user – Losing_lucidity. https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit
[03] Al-Dhubaibi, Mohammed. (2016). Comparison of Duct Tape with Adhesive Cyanoacrylate versus Cryotherapy in the Treatment of Palmoplantar Warts. Journal of Advances in Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 8. 1-6. doi: 10.9734/JAMPS/2016/26367
[04] Healthful Hint: You can’t smother a wart. By DR. FRANK BURES. Jun 13, 2010 https://www.winonadailynews.com/news/