Warts and verrucas

Warts do not cause you any harm but some people find them itchy, painful or embarrassing. Verrucas are more likely to be painful – like standing on a needle.

You can buy creams, plasters and sprays from pharmacies to get rid of warts and verrucas. These treatments can take up to three months to complete, may irritate your skin and do not always work. You should not use these treatments on your face. Your pharmacist can give you advice about the best treatment for you.

See a GP if:

  • You’re worried about a growth on your skin
  • You have a wart or verruca that keeps coming back
  • You have a very large or painful wart or verruca
  • A wart bleeds or changes in how it looks
  • You have a wart on your face or genitals

Warts and verrucas are caused by a virus. They can be spread to other people from contaminated surfaces or through close skin contact. You’re more likely to spread a wart or verruca if your skin is wet or damaged.

To stop warts and verrucas spreading;


  • wash your hands after touching a wart or verruca
  • change your socks daily if you have a verruca
  • cover warts and verrucas with a plaster when swimming
  • take care not to cut a wart when shaving


  • do not share towels, flannels, socks or shoes if you have a wart or verruca
  • do not bite your nails or suck fingers with warts on
  • do not walk barefoot in public places if you have a verruca
  • do not scratch or pick a wart

For more information on warts and verrucas visit the NHS Health A-Z website.

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Page last updated 21 July 2022