Removing A Verruca

Removing a verruca

This page was last updated on 1 May 2022

Removing A Verruca In 2022

Different types of verrucas

Warts and verrucas are benign skin conditions that can develop on any part of the body, but they’re most common on the soles of the feet. A verruca typically develops at a slow rate and causes no discomfort however once you get one they can be difficult to get rid of. In some cases, people may feel a slight burning or itching sensation and their severity can depend on the body’s immune system.

Plantar wart

Plantar warts are most common in young children who spend a lot of time barefoot. They appear as one or more bumps on the soles of the feet, which may be very painful while walking or standing for long periods of time. They’re difficult to cure and prone to recurring.

It is best to visit a pharmacist for professional medical advice on how to treat these types of warts. Sometimes plantar warts can be less amenable to over the counter treatments and sometimes the treatments may not be suitable for use on young children.

Mosaic Warts

There is a type of wart called mosaic warts which are similar to plantar warts, but they tend to be smaller and grow in clusters. Sometimes these small warts will go away on their own but they can often be stubborn and require some intervention.

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Common Warts

Common warts are often skin coloured and appear on the hands or feet. They resemble large spots or bumps with a rough surface that occur in clusters. If you hit them against something, they may bleed, although this is more common when your warts have grown deeper into your skin over time.

This kind of wart might go away on its own or with some at-home treatments, but you should see a doctor before attempting to treat warts at home since certain methods can harm healthy skin if used incorrectly.

Genital Warts

Warts that appear on the genitals are called genital warts and are also caused by the human papilloma virus. These can be especially difficult to treat since the skin in this area contains more sweat glands and oil glands, which can make it harder for medications to penetrate.

Verrucas

Verrucas (or verrucae) look similar to plantar warts, except they’re smooth and often a yellowy-brown colour when they mature. The tiny black dots on verrucas are caused by tiny blood vessels, which can appear as dark dots when the verruca becomes larger.

Verrucas aren’t painful to walk on and they tend to develop on pressure points such as between the toes or under a shoe’s edge. However, you may start to feel pain after a long day at work if they’re particularly large or have developed an unusually thick callous around them.

Verrucas normally disappear without treatment within three years in young people and two years in adults. However, they can be slow to go away, which is why it’s best to keep track of them with regular checks.

Many individuals do not require treatment until their verruca becomes painful or the infection spreads to numerous locations around the foot.

Are verrucas dangerous?

There is no evidence that verrucas are harmful in any way. They may cause some irritation if left untreated, but they will not harm your health over time. Some people may find them itchy or painful, and they might be a source of shame for others.

If the verrucas do not cause any discomfort or are generally pain-free, some may choose to ignore them. It is always up to you whether or not to remove them, but if the verruca is causing you problems, removing it might help relieve symptoms of itching and discomfort.

Will a wart or verruca disappear on its own?

You might be relieved to know that verrucas are sometimes considered ‘self-curing’ due to their tendency to disappear on their own. This will generally happen over time without any intervention, taking two to three years. People with a weakened immune system may require more time to recover.

If the verruca has vanished entirely, it is very unlikely to reappear. However, if the verruca does not go away after several months of self-treatment, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to see whether further verruca treatment is required.

how to get rid of a verruca

What causes warts and verrucas?

Verrucas are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV virus is capable of entering the skin and developing on the top layer, where many cells grow together to form a hard surface. The wart virus enters these cells through tiny cracks in your skin, where they begin to grow.

Verrucas are most commonly located on the bottom of the foot, particularly between the toes, but they can also develop in areas where skin rubs together, such as under acrylic nails and around hair follicles. If you have a verruca, it’s possible for it to travel from one end of your foot to the other if it isn’t removed promptly enough.

Warts and verrucas are benign skin conditions that can develop on any part of the body, but they're most common on the soles of the feet.

How to avoid getting warts and verrucas?

Although there is no guaranteed way to stop getting warts and verrucas, there are a few things you may do to lower your risk of getting them. Some examples include:

  • Keep your feet clean and dry at all times.
  • Washing your toes every time to maintain healthy skin. Don’t scrub too hard or your healthy skin will be damaged.
  • Dry thoroughly in between toes as well as on top of them.
  • Wear flip flops or a waterproof plaster when using swimming pools, communal showers, and changing areas in the gym. 

How to remove a verruca at home

Attempting to remove a verruca at home could cause further damage to the skin or even cause an infection, so it is not necessarily the best way to get rid of verrucas. However, if you do want to attempt it, you can try the following method:

  • Soak your feet in warm water for around 15 minutes to soften the skin and make it easier to remove warts.
  • Dry your feet thoroughly.
best way to get rid of verrucas

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  • Use a scrub to get rid of excess hard skin. A pumice stone, nail files or an emery board can be used on the verruca but not on surrounding healthy skin as this may cause scarring or bleeding.
  • Use tweezers to pull off any dry pieces of skin which have been loosened by the pumice or nail file.
  • If the verruca is particularly hard, soak the skin in white vinegar for a few minutes.
  • Apply antiseptic cream to reduce inflammation and prevent infection.

If you are unsuccessful at pulling out a verruca using these steps, you should seek treatment from a professional.

A pharmacist can help with warts and verrucas

You can visit your pharmacist and ask for over the counter remedies and advice on how to get rid of a verruca.

Over the counter products containing salicylic acid, such as medicated plasters, paint-on liquids and wipes, liquid sprays and foot powders can be easily obtained from a pharmacy.

Salicylic acid treatment removes dead skin cells and can be a very effective treatment method. Aldara cream is also useful for replacing damaged skin.

You can use these topical treatments at home but you should follow the instructions carefully and not use them more than three times in a week without talking to your GP or pharmacist first. If there is no improvement after a few weeks you should stop using these treatments and see your GP.

It is advised to put on cotton socks or clean cotton gloves after applying the ointment to avoid further irritation of the area.

pulling out a verruca

When should you see a GP?

If the verruca is particularly severe or there is more than one verruca, see your doctor for specialist care. Your GP may suggest trying some prescription creams or ointments. Alternatively, they might refer you to a consultant dermatologist where a specialist will be able to talk through other treatment options with you.

A podiatrist at a specialist dermatology clinic may recommend one of the following options of how to kill a verruca:

Curettage

This is where the doctor scrapes away layers of diseased skin with a surgical scalpel to destroy them and prevent them from spreading beneath your skin. This surgical removal is also known as excision removal. It may cause some bleeding at the time but the procedure will not scar your skin.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is a procedure which uses liquid nitrogen to kill the verruca. It is carried out at a hospital, by a GP or by a specialist nurse. The specialist will apply liquid nitrogen onto a cotton bud and then use it to freeze off the verruca. It may take a few sessions to completely cure the affected area. 

Electrodesiccation

To get rid of dead infected skin and reveal new, healthy skin, an electric current is used to burn away the top layers of skin. It should not cause any bleeding, but it may cause some discomfort and skin sensitivity after treatment.

Laser therapy

Verrucae can now be treated using laser treatment. This relatively new technique is performed by a podiatrist and uses directed light beams to destroy the wart or verruca cells. This verruca therapy is usually successful, and it causes little discomfort.

Be aware that these treatments may only be available as a private treatment so if money is an issue you may want to consider other treatments. 

What will the treatment be like?

The verruca removal treatments mentioned above may all cause slight temporary discomfort but they should not cause any significant pain. Local anaesthetic can be used on the area to ensure that nothing is felt while the treatment is underway. 

The time it takes to remove a verruca will vary depending on the treatment option used. Curettage and electrodesiccation can all be carried out in one day, while laser therapy and cryotherapy may take a few sessions. Every case is different and it is therefore difficult to say what is the quickest way to get rid of a verruca.

Are there any side effects?

The majority of the time, there are no negative effects. However, after treatment, there is a small chance of infection or scarring, so it’s best to consult with your pharmacist before making any decisions. Your footwear options may be limited in the future owing to the risk of scarring.

What should I do after the verrucae removal?

You should clean the infected region with antiseptic cream and a bandage after the verruca has been removed. It may take a few days before the area has fully healed. If you have any discomfort or pain, consider taking over-the-counter pain relievers.

People often worry that they will not be able to walk after verruca removal treatment but this is not the case. It is possible to walk after the treatment but it is advisable to avoid walking barefoot in public places until the area has healed completely.

Unfortunately, even if warts or verrucas are treated, there is always a chance that they will return. However, by making sure that all of the dead tissue is removed and the region is kept clean and free of infection, this risk can be reduced.

Consult your pharmacist or GP if you experience any symptoms such as pain, swelling, or redness.

quickest way to get rid of a verruca

How to stop warts and verrucas from spreading

Verrucas and warts are very contagious and it is important to act quickly to stop them from spreading either around your body or to other people. Some methods of avoiding this are detailed below:

  • Do not scratch or pick at the wart, as this might spread the infection.
  • If the wart is on your hand, avoid touching other parts of your body.
  • Avoid sharing personal items.
  • Apply a topical treatment such as salicylic acid or potassium hydroxide to the wart.
  • Wear flip flops if walking in public places such as the swimming pool
  • You can use duct tape to cover the area but note that this will not help it heal any faster

So what is the best way to get rid of verrucas?

Verrucas are a common problem, and no matter which treatment process you choose to get rid of them, there is always the chance that they will come back. The best way to avoid this happening is prevention. If you have verrucae on your hands or feet, try not to walk barefoot in public places like pools and locker rooms. It’s also important not to pick at or scratch any warts or verrucas because doing so could spread the infection. Consider using an over-the-counter topical medication such as salicylic acid (or potassium hydroxide) if you don’t want to use one of the more expensive treatments available for these skin conditions. Always seek medical advice if you have any concerns about your wart or verruca.

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Article author

James Lloyd

I am the primary writer and author for Help and Advice, having originally helped start the site because I recognised that there was a need for easy to read, free and comprehensive information on the web. I have been able to use my background in finance to produce a number of articles for the site, as well as develop the financial fitness assessment tool. This is a tool that provides you with practical advice on improving your personal financial health.

Outside of work I am a keen rugby player and used to play up to a semi-professional level before the years of injury finally took their toll.  Now you are more likely to see me in the clubhouse enjoying the game.

Email – james@helpandadvice.co.uk

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Frequently Asked Questions

So what is the best way to get rid of verrucas?

Verrucas are a common problem, and no matter which treatment process you choose to get rid of them, there is always the chance that they will come back.

What should I do after the verrucae removal?

You should clean the infected region with antiseptic cream and a bandage after the verruca has been removed.

What will the treatment be like?

The verruca removal treatments mentioned above may all cause slight temporary discomfort but they should not cause any significant pain.

Are verrucas dangerous?

There is no evidence that verrucas are harmful in any way. They may cause some irritation if left untreated, but they will not harm your health over time.

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