Why do Warts grow back after removal

by Dr Wan Chee Kwang
February 21, 2024

Cutaneous warts are a common dermatological concern that can be both unsightly and uncomfortable. Even with professional removal treatments, they may recur. Why is that so?

In this article, we'll explore the factors contributing to the recurrence of warts and share the various wart removal methods.

 Immune system response

The body's immune system is instrumental in combating infections, including those caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is responsible for warts. When a wart is removed, the immune system recognises and eliminates the virus. However, the effectiveness of this response can vary from person to person.

Persons with weakened immune systems may be more prone to recurrent warts. Conditions such as stress, illness, or certain medications can compromise the immune system, making it challenging for the body to defend against HPV robustly. 

 Virus persistence

The persistence of the virus within the body can influence whether warts come back after removal. Even if a visible wart is removed, the HPV may still be present in the surrounding skin. 

In some cases, the virus remains dormant and re-emerges, leading to the recurrence of warts. This is particularly true for certain strains of HPV that have a higher propensity for persistence.

Wart recurrence is more likely if there are remnant wart-infected cells and if the skin damaged during wart removal is infected by the original wart or other warts. 

 Hygiene practices

Proper hygiene practices are crucial to preventing the spread of HPV and reducing the risk of warts returning. 

HPV spreads through contact with the virus, and maintaining good hygiene helps interrupt the transmission chain. Regular hand washing and avoiding direct contact with warts minimise the risk of spreading the virus to other parts of your body or other individuals.

 Individual variability

Each person's response to wart removal can vary based on their unique immune system, overall health, and lifestyle factors. Some individuals may experience complete resolution of warts after a single treatment, while others may require multiple interventions. 

Additionally, warts' type and location can influence the likelihood of recurrence.

 Tips to prevent recurrence

If you would like to prevent warts from recurring, here are some tips:

  • Adhere to post-op topicals: Use the medication provided by your doctor to ensure that your wound heals well.
  • Regularly inspect your skin: Be vigilant about changes in your skin. Regularly inspect for new warts or any abnormalities, and seek prompt treatment to prevent the virus from establishing itself deeper into your skin.

 Wart removal Treatment options

Should you require further wart removal treatment, here are some options you can consider:

  • Wart removal creams: Prescription wart removal creams typically contain ingredients like salicylic acid. They work by breaking down the wart tissue over time. 
  • Ultrapulse CO2 laser: This laser treatment uses controlled pulses of light to target and remove warts. It is a precise and effective method that minimises damage to surrounding tissues.
  • RF ablation: Radiofrequency (RF) ablation involves using high-frequency electrical currents to remove warts. This method is known for its precision and is often used for more extensive or stubborn warts. 
  • Vascular laser: Vascular lasers target the blood vessels that supply the wart, causing it to shrink and eventually fall off. Combination lasers, where a vascular laser is paired with another laser treatment, can be used to improve the outcome of wart removal.
  • Surgical excision: Surgical removal involves cutting the wart and stitching the wound.
  • Injections: Immunotherapy injections are available for wart removal.  

 Wart removal in Singapore

The recurrence of warts after removal is common and dependent on the factors mentioned in this article. Choosing experienced professionals like 1Aesthetics can minimise the risk of recurrence and ensure lasting results.

1Aesthetics specialises in wart removal treatments. Our team of skilled professionals in Singapore offer a targeted and comprehensive approach to removal, optimising your chances of long-term success.

To learn more about wart removal treatment, schedule a consultation with us.


  1. Ahmad M Al Aboud. Pramod K Nigam. (2023). Wart. National Library of Medicine.

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