Rid your feet of stubborn verrucas, with our pick of the best wart and verruca treatment gels and foams to use at home
School swimming lessons may be a distant memory, but verrucas are still very much with us. The best verruca treatments will work quickly to blitz warts on your hands as well as verrucas on your feet, and can also help obliterate corns and calluses.
Most verruca treatments fall into one of two categories: acid gels, which contain salicylic or similar acid to remove the dead skin that forms in thick layers on top of a verruca, or cryotherapy foams, which freeze and kill the verruca from the inside. Acid and cryotherapy treatments each have pros and cons and come in a variety of application formats, so we’ve compiled a list of the best examples below.
Skip to discover our top picks, or read on for a guide to buying the right verruca treatment to blitz the offenders quickly, safely and painlessly at home.
Best verruca treatment: At a glance
- Best overall: Bazuka Extra Strength Treatment Gel | £7
- Best freeze therapy treatment: Wartner Wart & Verruca Cryo Freeze | £13
- Best treatment pen: Scholl Verruca and Wart Pen | £15
- Best all-in-one treatment: Excilor 2in1 Wart Verruca Treatment | £15
- Best concentrated cryotherapy treatment: Wartie Advanced | £16
- Best gentle treatment: Bazuka Treatment Gel | £5
How to choose the best verruca treatment for you
What are verrucas, and how are they different from warts?
Warts and verrucas are small, rough lumps or growths on your skin caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). A verruca (aka ‘plantar wart’) is basically a wart on the sole of your foot, where it grows inwards.
The ugly mark you see on your skin is actually the virus’s defence mechanism. It creates excessive skin to cover itself up, and over time these layers and layers of dead skin get compacted, which makes them painful and increasingly hard to treat. And if you have a cluster of verrucas (sometimes called ‘mosaic warts’), they can get very sore indeed if left untreated.
Another reason to treat warts and verrucas quickly is that they’re highly contagious, spreading easily from person to person. You’re more likely to get infected if your skin is damaged or the floor is wet, which is why people often catch verrucas at the swimming pool or gym.
Genital warts are very different, in case you’re wondering. They’re caused by a different type of HPV and are sexually transmitted. Don’t even think of using off-the-shelf verruca treatments on genital warts. Instead, go to an STI clinic.
How do you get rid of verrucas?
The most commonly used treatments for warts and verrucas are acid, which burns the dead skin and infection away, and cryotherapy, which freezes them.
Salicylic and trichloroacetic acid work from the outside in, corroding the hardened layers of dead skin. Acid treatments work best after you’ve softened the verruca by soaking it in water, and may need helping along with an emery board or pumice stone, to rub away the hardened dead skin. It’s pretty easy to do at home, but it can take up to three months to shift a really stubborn verruca.
Cryotherapy freezes the verruca and causative virus from the inside out. It’s a little faster than acid treatment, and you may only need to do it once. When carried out by a GP, cryotherapy usually involves liquid nitrogen and takes a few (rather uncomfortable) seconds. At home, the active ingredients are more gentle (for example dimethyl ether) so the process is less quick and certain to succeed, but also less painful than your GP’s quick freeze.
The best verruca treatments you can buy in 2023
1. Bazuka Extra Strength Treatment Gel: Best verruca treatment
Price: £7 | Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy
The UK’s top-selling wart and verruca treatment didn’t just achieve its popularity by having a rhyming name (“Bazuka that verruca”, as the ad goes). Bazuka Extra Strength is more than twice as strong as regular Bazuka (which is 12% salicylic acid), but you can still use it every day if you’re tackling a particularly tenacious wart or verruca. You won’t need to use a plaster, because it dries fast to create a water-resistant protective barrier that also helps to stop the infection spreading. For a strong treatment it’s surprisingly non-painful, and even when you get a bit on your healthy skin it doesn’t hurt much and is easy to wipe away.
Key specs – Size: 6g; Application type: Gel; Active ingredient: Salicylic acid (26%); Suitable for: Age 2+ (supervise children)
2. Wartner Wart & Verruca Cryo Freeze: Best freeze therapy verruca treatment for fast results
Price: £13 | Buy now from Boots
This Cryo Freeze pen is the new easy-to-use version of Wartner’s cryotherapy verruca treatment, which previously combined a foam applicator and fiddly sponges. The active ingredient is now carbon dioxide (CO2), which is a bit less uncomfortable (and less flammable) than the old dimethyl ether, making the new pen more suitable for kids. The new pen also makes the treatment much easier to apply precisely, without touching the healthy skin around the verruca.
Some buyers report finding the new Cryo Freeze pen less powerful than the older Wartner product, but it’s still faster and less labour-intensive than acid treatments.
Key specs – Size: 14ml; Application type: Pen; Active ingredient: Carbon dioxide; Suitable for: Age 4+ (supervise children)
3. Scholl Verruca Wart Treatment Pen: Best verruca treatment pen for hard-to-reach verrucas
Price: £15 | Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy
This pen applicator from foot health specialist Scholl makes easy work of treating verrucas that you can’t see or reach very well. You click the pen a couple of times, then use the precision tip to apply two drops of blue-coloured gel to the verruca, without danger of getting gel on the healthy skin around it. The solution then dries, but it doesn’t form quite as protective a barrier as Bazuka, so you’ll need to stick a plaster on top.
The trichloroacetic acid-based gel does sting a bit but it’s a fast worker, with visible results in one week. However you may need to repeat the treatment after a four-day break if it doesn’t get rid of the infection.
Key specs – Size: 2ml; Application type: Gel pen; Active ingredient: TCA-Active (trichloroacetic) acid; Suitable for: Age 4+ (supervise children)
4. Excilor 2in1 Wart Verruca Treatment: Best all-in-one verruca treatment for stubborn verrucas
Price: £15 | Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy
Excilor 2-in-1 is a two-pronged attack, using acid to corrode the verruca from the outside, and also freeze therapy to kill it from the inside. You get two different treatments in the box and you’re supposed to use them at the same time, so be prepared for a bit of discomfort. But this no-nonsense approach does speed things up, and should obliterate even the most stubborn verruca within five days.
Key specs – Size: 12.5ml; Application type: Foam and gel; Active ingredient: ‘Cryo-Active’ freezing agent plus TCA-Active (Trichloroacetic) acid; Suitable for: Age 4+ (supervise children)
5. Wartie Advanced Wart and Verruca Remover: Best concentrated cryotherapy treatment for thick verrucas
Price: £16 | Buy now from Boots
Wartie’s approach is to basically stab your verruca and freeze its core. You really do stab, too: you warm the precision metal tip in water, then use it to penetrate dried callused skin (nice!) and deliver a concentrated dose of freezing dimethyl ether gas right into the centre of the verruca. It sounds grisly but there’s no contact at all with surrounding skin, so it’s no more painful than other home freeze treatments.
However, despite the precision applicator, it’s all a bit fiddly to use. You have to keep the applicator in a vertical position, push and twist to release the gas, and then keep it in place for a full 40 seconds. Not easy when treating the underside of your own foot! But this may be just the thing to finally kill that stubborn wart on your hand.
Key specs – Size: 50ml; Application type: Precision gas applicator; Active ingredient: Dimethyl ether; Suitable for: Age 12+
6. Bazuka Treatment Gel with Emery Board: Best gentle verruca treatment for using on warts, verrucas, corns and calluses
Price: £5 | Buy now from Boots
Bazuka’s standard formula is relatively gentle, so don’t expect overnight results. The 12% salicylic acid gel is strong enough to burn away infected skin tissue and kill the virus over a few weeks, but gentle enough to be an ideal choice for tackling corns and calluses without causing pain or damage. However, as with all verruca treatments, never use it on moles.
Key specs – Size: 6g; Application type: Gel; Active ingredient: Salicylic acid (12%), lactic acid (4%); Suitable for: Age 2+ (supervise children)