Think that little bump on the side of your finger or toe could be a wart? Warts are usually harmless; however, because they tend to appear on your hands or feet, they can become irritated and sore if they’re in an awkward spot.
Despite warts being very common, many people find them to be quite embarrassing and want to get rid of them quickly. With this in mind, it’s good to know that in most instances it’s perfectly possible and safe to treat warts at home using over-the-counter medicines like those in our warts and verruca treatment range.
This blog post will guide you through identifying warts, treating and removing warts and avoiding them altogether. It will also provide prompts on when you should seek medical advice to ensure that your warts don’t become problematic.
How to identify a wart
Warts look like small raised lumps or bumps on the skin, and are usually the same colour as your skin too. Single warts can be found in isolation, or you may notice small clusters of warts.
Different types of warts include common warts, plane warts and periungual warts. The verruca is also a member of the wart family.
The raised bumps of warts are made of the hard protein keratin. Over-production of keratin within the top skin layer occurs as a result of infection by the human papilloma virus, also known as HPV. Genital warts are also caused by HPV but require a different treatment approach. Warts are not cancerous and will disappear with time and the right treatment; however, they can resemble some cancers which is why it’s important to be sure that it is indeed warts that you have.
What are the causes of warts?
The HPV virus is not highly contagious, but can be passed through skin-to-skin contact or from surfaces such as tiles around swimming pools. Warts themselves are contagious when they are present on your skin however, and you should therefore be careful not to spread them to other parts of your body.
It’s easier to catch the HPV virus when your skin is soft and wet or you have a cut, which is why it’s common to see signs warning against their spread at swimming pools. If you’d like to avoid passing on warts or spreading them on your own body you should avoid biting your nails or putting your fingers in your mouth if they have warts on them. You should also be careful not to knock or scratch the wart or shave them.
You may need to visit your GP if you think you have a wart
If you’re unsure whether your skin problem is a wart, a GP or pharmacist will generally be able to tell by inspecting it. It’s also worth remembering that warts usually develop on the hands and feet, though they can be spread elsewhere.
You should always consult your GP if your warts spread, bleed or change in appearance or if they start to cause you pain. Genital and facial warts should not be treated with over-the-counter medicines - you will need to visit your GP if you have these.
If you’re diabetic you should also chat to your doctor about wart treatment options that are open to you as over-the-counter treatments are not suitable for those with circulation problems.
How to treat warts
You can purchase a wide variety of wart treatments online here at Rowlands Pharmacy. These products contain salicylic acid, which works as a keratolytic therapy to soften the keratin in the skin and treat the wart.
However, because the gels, creams and sprays that contain salicylic acid don’t discriminate between healthy skin and warts, it’s important you protect the skin around it by covering it with a barrier product such as petroleum jelly. Some creams are supplied with special dressings or plasters to help you isolate the wart and keep your healthy skin safe.
If you have facial or genital warts you should not use salicylic acid-based treatments on these areas. Your doctor will be able to advise on suitable treatment for warts located in these areas and will be able to prescribe an alternative if necessary.
Take a look at our full range of wart treatments and verruca treatments, as well as our treatments for other embarrassing conditions, and buy the products you need online quickly and discreetly.