Yes, apple cider vinegar does normally cause the genital warts to change color – usually white or a lighter color than the surrounding skin. It is so effective at changing the color of warts that it is used as a way to detect a HPV (human papillomavirus) infection. This method is usually used in areas with limited health care. It is not foolproof as a way to diagnose warts, because other lesions or growths can turn white, as well.
Why Does Apple Cider Vinegar Turn Genital Warts White?
A wart is a slightly raised rough cluster of skin tissue. Acids are often used to attack the cells in the wart. A common treatment for warts is salicylic acid. Doctors use a very strong concentration to’ burn’ the wart off. Apple cider vinegar is an acid, and probably works in a similar way. One study found that apple cider vinegar helped remove the top layers of the wart, but once treatment ended, the warts quickly regrew.
Because apple cider vinegar is an acid, it can burn the skin. Treatment of warts with apple cider vinegar (or any vinegar, really) can cause serious skin irritation. Many people use oils to treat the skin soreness in between apple cider vinegar applications. It is said to help soothe the skin and can help reduce inflammation. If you are worried about scars, the oil could possibly help reduce scarring. Of course, it all depends on issues like healing times, hyper or hypo pigmentation, etc.
With all that said – many people say that they have experienced great results using apple cider vinegar (or plain vinegar) to treat genital warts. So, if the skin is turning white – it is probably working as expected.
New Gential Wart Treatments That Don’t Burn
Before you try apple cider vinegar as a genital warts treatment, you should know that researchers have found zinc oxide and topical vitamin A to be very effective treatments for warts, too. They could be far less likely to burn and leave scarring. Most wart removal solutions and treatments can irritate the skin in some way, so these new options are promising.
Gaston A, Garry R. Topical vitamin A treatment of recalcitrant common warts. Virol J. 2012; 9:21.
Khattar JA, Musharrafieh UM, Tamim H, Hamadeh GN. Topical zinc oxide vs. salicylic acid-lactic acid combination in the treatment of warts. Int J Dermatol. 2007 Apr;46(4):427-30.