Warts and verrucas are non-cancerous skin growths that usually appear on the feet or hands. Verruca is the name given to warts that develop on the feet, these are also known as plantar warts. Other types of warts affect the palms of the hands, knuckles, fingers, and knees. While warts and verrucas are very common and are usually harmless, they can be very embarrassing for some people and they can sometimes be accompanied by pain and itching. These growths can disappear on their own but they’re quite stubborn and can remain for months, maybe even years. If you would like to get rid of them sooner you may need the help of medicine to clear the infection causing the warts and remove the growths.
Below are some common medicines often used to treat warts and verrucas. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list and other non-medical, lifestyle changes may be more suitable. To learn more about these options, please click here. Before receiving medication you must answer a number of questions to asses your suitability. All questions are reviewed by a GMC registered doctor before a final decision is made. All medication is dispensed via a full regulated and registered UK pharmacy. All prices displayed on our site include the price of the medication and our doctors’ consultation fee. All prices displayed on our site include the price of the medication and our doctors’ consultation fee.
Dr. Daniel Cichi
Our Health Care Team
"Warts and verrucas are very common particularly amongst children and adolescents, and although they’re not usually a cause for concern, we see many people wanting treatment because they’re distressed or embarrassed by the unsightly appearance of warts. Some treatments aren’t always effective for everyone, stronger methods such as chemical treatments or minor surgery may be necessary in some cases. However, at-home medicines containing salicylic acid are usually the first port of call. With any wart treatment, it can take weeks even months to get rid of the wart but it’s important to be consistent to gain effective results. If the warts aren’t budging despite treatment, or if they’re spreading and causing a lot of pain, itchiness or are bleeding, you will need to see your GP for further investigation."
What do warts and verrucas look like and what are the symptoms?
Warts are usually small, fleshy lumps on the skin that have a rough surface, these are the most common types of warts and they’re usually painless, but depending on where they are they can cause discomfort or get in the way of tasks if they’re on the hands or fingers. Some people experience itching and pain, more so with verrucas on the sole of the feet which may hurt when walking. Verrucas are usually round and flat and are white in colour with a black dot in the centre which is a blood vessel.
There are many other different types of warts which may cluster or appear on the face. Other less common types of warts include:
- Plane warts
- Filiform warts
- Periungual warts
- Mosaic warts
What causes warts and verrucas?
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is responsible for warts and verrucas. When coming into direct contact with skin or surfaces that are contaminated with this virus this causes these small growths to appear, sometimes as a single wart or in a cluster. If you become infected with HPV you may not always develop a wart, you may have the virus without knowing. HPV is easily spread and there are over 100 different types of HPV, some can cause genital warts and some can cause cancer. However, the strain of HPV responsible for warts that most commonly affect hands and feet is usually harmless.
So, how do warts and verrucas spread?
Warts and verrucas are highly contagious but it needs to be direct skin to skin contact or contact with a contaminated surface or object for the virus to infect a person. HPV can get into the body more easily through broken or wet skin which is why it’s common for warts to spread in pool areas and amongst children as they often have cuts and grazes and are not so vigilant when it comes to preventing the spread of the virus. They can be spread simply by sharing towels or toys. Once infected, it will take several months for the wart to appear on the skin.
How do you prevent common warts and verrucas?
You can lower your risk of becoming contracted with HPV but it can be difficult to avoid. To reduce your risk avoid direct contact with anyone who has a wart, do not touch their warts, and do not share towels, pumice stones, nail clippers, shoes, socks or anything else that is used by someone who has a wart or verruca. The same applies if you yourself have a wart, avoid touching it an do not pick or scratch a wart as you may spread it to someone else or another part of your body.
When visiting swimming pools or using gym equipment, cover your wart with plasters or gloves, or use a verruca sock for warts that are on the feet.
How are warts treated?
Warts don’t necessarily need treating unless the wart is causing you pain, discomfort, or the appearance is causing you to feel embarrassed and low self-esteem. Warts and verrucas will naturally disappear but it may take some time, wart removal treatments can help speed this process up. Warts are most commonly treated with salicylic acid which is the active ingredient in most wart removal medicines. These medicines come in many different forms such as gels, paints, creams, and plasters. This type of treatment is usually done at home, and it may be used in combination with other treatments such as cryotherapy. Cryotherapy involves a medical professional freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen, this is a more painful treatment that may need to be repeated multiple times. These treatments aim to help your body fight off the virus and remove the physical wart.
Chemical treatments, surgery, laser treatment, and light therapy are other options that may be used to treat warts, but because of the risk of side effects and scarring, they may only be used if other treatments have not worked.
Wart treatment available at Doctor 4 U
If warts are causing you distress either physically or psychologically, Doctor 4 U has a range of prescription treatments available to help you remove and treat the wart at home. These home treatments may take a few weeks or months to work, but if you’ve seen no improvement in this time, you must consult your GP to try other treatments that may be stronger. Here at Doctor 4 U we always ensure that the treatments we provide are safe and suitable for you, which is why we’ll ask you a few questions related to your condition and your wider health before you receive treatment. Browse our range of treatments above and simply complete our online consultation if you would like to purchase a treatment.