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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.
Hit verrucas hard with these handy hacks
‘After being plagued by verrucas throughout my childhood, I now wear flip-flops whenever I go swimming. I slip them on by the pool and in the changing rooms, and haven’t caught another verruca since!’ Gina Sterling, 25, Birmingham
For a gel or cream option, Bazuka Extra Strength Treatment Gel, £8.99/899 points (6g), with 26% w/w salicylic acid, is designed to inhibit the spread of the virus and form a protective water-resistant barrier. Always read the label.Add
Some GPs offer cryotherapy – where liquid nitrogen freezes and destroys the skin cells. Boots Verruca & Wart Remover Freeze Spray, £9.59/959 points (10 applications), is an easy-to-use alternative. Suitable from 4 years+.Currently Unavailable
Hello soft, shine-free skin!
For a clear, bright complexion, you’ll need some jelly! Yes, jelly is big news in beauty, because it melts quickly into skin without affecting oil levels.Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Jelly Moisturiser With Extract Of Berry, £4.59 (50ml), not only smooths and refreshes, but it also helps reduce the appearance of spots and controls shine for up to 12 hours – a must for blemish-prone skin.
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Editor Helen Daly Associate editor Julia Martin Acting associate editor Jessica Powell Senior art editor Louisa Edge Designer Mairead Gleeson Picture editor Francisco Ludovico Chief sub-editor Carrie Sizer Acting chief sub-editor Martina Walsh Acting deputy chief sub-editor Danielle Richardson Features director Danielle Hine Features writer Charlotte Grant-West Beauty director Donna Francis Editorial assistant Abbie-Joelle Skliarsky Business director Georgie Eley Account director Sophie Horne Commercial director Ian Anderson Senior advertising manager Michelle Daburn Senior sales executives Naomi Spence Advertising account manager Jalna Maharjan Print project manager Judy Binning Publishing lead Adrian Farr For Boots Katie Barber, Katie Harrison and Fiona Lakin With thanks this issue to: Chris Carus, Keith Drummond, Fay Gristwood, Ana Jervic, Jimm Leaf, Lucy Moore, Chris Morley, Susannah Parker, Emily Plank, Jill Tipping and Iain White