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‘What can help get rid of a verruca?’

Get to the bottom of those irritating niggles with the help of our experts

Boots pharmacist Meera Shah says: There’s nothing as annoying as a verruca to spoil sandal season. But whether it’s you or your child who has one, there are various types of treatments available to help.

 

Essentially, a verruca is a type of wart that is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). When present, the virus causes a build-up of keratin on the skin, resulting in the hard texture of a wart. Commonly found on the soles of the feet, they may also have black dots in the centre (blocked blood vessels).

 

Generally, verrucas don’t need any medical attention unless they’re painful, causing distress or in an awkward position. Although they may well disappear without treatment, they can last varying lengths of time.

Poolside areas are high-risk zones, as you’re more prone to infection when skin is wet

There are a number of over-the-counter products available to treat verrucas and warts. A common ingredient is salicylic acid, which works by softening the outer layer of the skin, allowing it to shed. My top tip? Before applying the treatment, soak your foot in warm water for five minutes or so to soften the skin, then use an emery board to gently rub away dead tissue from the top of the verruca.

 

Your doctor can also freeze it for 10-30 seconds using liquid nitrogen, to kill the affected skin cells. Some research has found that freezing works for about half the people treated. However, the downside is that it can be a little painful.

 

Verrucas can spread easily, particularly at swimming pools. Changing rooms, showers and poolside areas are high-risk zones, as people are likely to be barefoot. You are also more prone to infection when your skin is wet or damaged, so if you or your children have a verruca, keep it covered with a plaster or wear rubber verruca socks or flip-flops.

 

Lastly, make sure you keep an eye on your feet. If your growth doesn’t look like a verruca, or if you notice your verruca changes appearance, starts to bleed or is painful, make an appointment to see your GP for further specialist advice.

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Compiled by Charlotte Grant-West Photography Matthew Walder, Pixeleyes
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