Everyone either has a child or knows a child who has had warts! Much like molluscum, these unsightly skin growths are not particularly harmful. But they do spread like wildfire – particularly when it comes to warts on kids.
Because warts aren’t harmful, they can just be left alone if you prefer. In fact, 65% of warts resolve within 2 years with no treatment. But if you do want to treat or prevent warts naturally, there are several options to consider.
Watch the video or continue reading below to learn about managing warts on kids (and adults!) naturally.
What are warts?
Warts are growths on the skin that are caused by the HPV virus. There are different types of warts – common, flat and plantar warts – but they are treated the same way.
Warts can occur anywhere on the body, but some common spots are the knees, hands and feet. Plantar warts are found on the weight-bearing areas of the feet such as the heel and ball of the foot.
As I mentioned, warts aren’t harmful, but they do spread very easily. This includes spreading from person to person with direct skin to skin contact, spreading to other parts of the body on the same person, and even indirectly through pools and showers.
You can use medical approaches to remove warts, including freezing them off and using wart creams. But the most important thing is to remember that this is a viral condition. That means that the best course of action is supporting the immune system to fight off the virus itself.
Why are warts on kids more common than adults?
Warts can affect people of all ages, but they are more prominent in kids. This is for a few reasons:
- Kids are generally less hygienic than adults! This makes it easier to spread the virus to others, as well as to different parts of their own bodies.
- Kids have an immune system that is still developing. This leaves them more vulnerable to infection than adults.
- Kids spend more time in communal pools – think swimming lessons! The local swimming pool is a common way for warts to spread indirectly, as the virus can live in warm water.
How to treat warts on kids using natural remedies
If you’d like to treat the warts your child has, there are a few ways to go about it. You can use natural topical remedies, internal remedies that support the immune system, or a combination. I recommend using both topical treatment and internal support for the best results.
Topical treatments for warts
The two topical treatments I recommend are lemon essential oil and apple cider vinegar.
Lemon essential oil is one that I have used with my own child. While we were travelling around Australia, we were using communal showers regularly, and my son developed a wart. I had lemon essential oil handy, so I applied it neat with a cotton bud. Within a couple of weeks, it was gone!
Depending on your child’s age and skin sensitivity, applying it neat may not be suitable. If they are very sensitive and/or young, you might want to dilute it with a carrier oil such as coconut oil. If you’re unsure, put a small amount of neat essential oil onto one spot, and monitor it for any irritation or pain before using it elsewhere.
Apple cider vinegar is another great option because you probably already have it in the pantry! Using a cotton bud, apply the apple cider vinegar to any warts once or twice a day.
I would recommend only using one of these two options on warts – whichever you already have handy is fine!
Internal treatments for warts
When it comes to internal treatments, we want to use nutrients that boost the immune system. There are two nutrients that I always consider when it comes to warts on kids – zinc and vitamin D.
Zinc is a great nutrient to support the immune system in fighting off all kinds of infections – from warts to the common cold. It increases lymphocytes, an immune cell that attacks viruses like HPV. If someone has low zinc levels, they will be at a higher risk of infection.
When it comes to zinc in the diet, there are a few zinc-rich sources to consider. Some of the best are red meat, fish, seafood and pumpkin seeds (or pepitas).
However, diet alone may not be enough for kids to get their zinc needs. Kids go through a lot of zinc for growth and development, making it hard for them to keep up with the zinc demands. Australian soil is quite low in zinc, so it’s not getting into our food in good amounts. And of course, fussy eaters don’t like most of the foods that are highest in zinc!
That’s why I often recommend a zinc supplement for kids that are dealing with viral conditions such as warts. If you do want to try a zinc supplement for your child, I suggest working with a practitioner. But if you do want to pick one up yourself, look for a zinc chelate – it is more absorbable.
Vitamin D is another essential nutrient for healthy immunity. It’s great for preventing recurrent infections, which is why I often use it with kids that get constantly sick.
To get enough vitamin D, you need plenty of sunlight exposure during the day over the colder months. Vitamin D levels will drop off over winter because there is less exposure to the required UV rays, so you do need to use strategies to maintain those levels.
Throughout winter, make sure you and the kids are getting outdoors around midday. You can eat lunch outside, go for a little walk, or just encourage the kids to play outside even if it’s cold. Make sure you expose some skin – roll the sleeves of your jumper up and get some sunlight on your face. Remember that sunscreen and sunglasses can reduce vitamin D exposure, so you might want to reduce your use of these over the colder months.
But many kids will need a supplement to have healthy levels of vitamin D, particularly over the colder months. When it comes to supplementing vitamin D, I don’t suggest going for a high dose without checking their levels first. If you’re not sure what dose is appropriate for your child, seek support from a qualified practitioner.
Herbal treatments for warts
Finally, we come to the herbal-based treatments. What I love about these herbal treatments is that they have a two-in-one action. They are anti-viral, but will also boost immunity at the same time.
Medicinal mushrooms are my favourite for anti-viral support. Some of the best medicinal mushrooms include reishi, shiitake, cordyceps and coriolus. These do taste pretty terrible in a liquid form, so I don’t recommend using those with your kids! I use a practitioner-only supplement that combines these four into a powder. But you can often find them in powdered form at your local health food store as well.
Olive leaf extract is another great herbal treatment to use with warts on kids. It has both anti-viral and immune-boosting properties. You can find it at your local pharmacy or health food store. It’s often in a glycerol base, which is sweet (and therefore tend to be kid-friendly!)
Warts on kids can be a sign that their immune system is in need of extra support. One of the best ways to boost their immunity is by focusing on wholefoods! To get started, download my FREE ebook 8 Essential Wholefoods for Kids here.