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Haydon Bridge Pharmacy

Warts, Verrucas and how to treat them

Warts and verrucas are a common complaint in the pharmacy, especially in people under twenty years of age. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have a wart or verruca  at any one time. Warts most frequently affect the hands, feet and anal or genital area.

Which Warts can be Treated at the Pharmacy?
The pharmacy is able to provide treatment for warts that are not on sensitive areas, such as the face, neck, armpits, anal and genital areas. Anal and genital warts are more complicated and are not covered by this article.
What is a Wart or a Verruca?
Warts are caused by a virus which causes a reaction in the skin. They appear as small rough lumps on the skin. Their size can vary from less than 1mm to over 10mm.
Verrucas are warts that occur on the soles of the feet. They grow deep into the skin and appear as areas of flat thickened skin with a hard outer edge and a soft centre. They often appear flatter due to the downward pressure from the feet.
Are Warts and Verrucas Harmful?
Warts and verrucas are usually not harmful. Sometimes verrucas can be painful if they press on a sensitive area of the skin.
How do Warts Spread?
Warts are spread by close skin-to-skin contact. If skin is damaged or wet and in touch with roughened surfaces the risk of spreading is increased.  Warts and verrucas may also spread around the body by touch.
How to Prevent Verrucas Spreading
Traditionally a verruca sock was used to prevent verrucas spreading when someone would be bare footed e.g. at a swimming pool. Although verruca socks are still available waterproof plasters are more commonly used due to their more discreet appearance.
What Treatment Options are there in the pharmacy for Warts?
1.       Salicylic acid, lactic acid and silver nitrate act by dissolving the skin on the area affected by the wart. These require regular and persistent use.
2.       New preparations based on freezing. These require less work but are more expensive.

Who should not use treatments purchased in a pharmacy for verrucas or warts?

If you are diabetic you should not purchase wart and verruca treatments from a pharmacy instead you should see your GP or chiropodist to ensure the area is properly monitored. If you are pregnant you should also check the individual product details.

Warts are very common and treatment can take a bit of work. If you ever have a wart or verruca that is not removed by regular treatment please let a health care professional see the area to check that it is a wart or verruca you are treating.

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