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Warts and verruca

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  • Warts are small, rough stumps that often develop on the skin of the hands and feet, although they can form anywhere on the body. Warts can develop in clusters or on their own and can vary in appearance, they are not cancerous.
  • Verrucas are warts that usually develop on the soles of the feet.

What causes warts?

Warts are caused by an infection with the HPV (human papilloma virus), this causes an excessive amount of keratin (a hard protein) to develop in the top skin layer (epidermis).

Are they contagious?

Yes they are very contagious and can pass through close skin to skin contact. It can also be transmitted from contaminated surfaces such as the surround of a swimming pool. After becoming infected it can take months for a wart or verruca to appear.warts and verrucas

When to see your GP?

Warts are easy to identify because of their distinctive appearance, see your GP if you notice a growth on your skin you are unsure about. You should also seek medical advice if your wart:

  • bleeds
  • changes in appearance
  • causes significant pain
  • spreads


The majority of warts are harmless and clear up without treatment, it may take up to 2 years for the viral infection to leave your system and the wart to disappear. Common methods of treatment include:

  • duct tape
  • chemical treatment
  • salicylic acid
  • freezing the skin cells (cryotherapy)

Treatment is not always effective and the wart can return following treatment.



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