Rid your hands and feet of those unsightly cauliflower lumps with our pick of the best wart removers that work fast and don’t hurt
Warts are very common, with two-thirds of us getting at least one of these lumps on our hands, feet or knees at some point. The best wart removers can obliterate the offenders quickly and painlessly, before they get a chance to spread across your skin or to other people.
Wart removers fall into two main categories: acid gels, which gradually eat away the thick layers of dead skin on top of a wart, or freeze treatments, which kill the wart from the inside until it eventually falls off, leaving clear new skin underneath. As a rule, freeze treatments are faster and more uncomfortable (the quick and dirty approach), while acid treatments are gentler and take longer to get the job done.
Skip down the page to discover which wart removers we recommend for different types of user and wart. Or, for more info on choosing the best wart remover for you, keep reading.
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Best wart removers: At a glance
- Freeze off your wart in one go: Bazuka Sub-Zero | Buy now
- Best painless wart remover: Bazuka Extra Strength | Buy now
- Easiest wart remover to use: Wartner Cryo Freeze | Buy now
- Best wart remover for kids: Scholl Treatment Pen | Buy now
- Best wart remover for adults: Wartie Advanced | Buy now
- Best combined acid and freeze: Excilor 2in1 | Buy now
How to choose the best wart remover for you
What are warts, and how are they different from verrucas?
Warts are rough, knobbly growths on your skin caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). They’re most likely to appear on your fingers, knuckles and knees. They can be as small as 1mm or as big as 1cm across, and can also occur in clusters called “mosaic warts”. Just what you want sticking out of your knuckles during a candlelit dinner or job interview.
Left untreated, warts can grow in size and get harder to treat. Untreated warts can also spread to create clusters, spread to other parts of your body (for example, to your feet, where they can grow inwards and become painful verrucas), and spread to other people. So get yourself a good wart remover, and get rid.
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What are the best ways to remove a wart?
There are two main types of wart remover:
- Acid treatments use salicylic acid or trichloroacetic acid to eat away your wart from the top down, burning through the dead skin. That may sound nasty, but acid treatments are relatively gentle, and can take a couple of months to remove a stubborn wart.
- Freeze treatments use cryotherapy agents to freeze the wart from the inside out. Freezing is faster than acid treatment, and you may only need to do it once. GPs use liquid nitrogen to freeze off warts in a few uncomfortable seconds. At home, the active ingredients are more gentle (for example, dimethyl ether or carbon dioxide). It can take up to two weeks for the wart to fully drop off.
“Warts tend to affect children and young people, so I recommend starting with salicylic acid, which is less painful than freezing treatments,” says Hussain Abdeh, superintendent pharmacist at Medicine Direct. “But freezing treatment can remove the wart in a much quicker time.”
The main danger of using freeze treatments at home is the risk of getting it onto healthy skin. This can cause scarring and even nerve damage. So, in our recommendations, we only include freeze treatments that administer the product directly into the wart, with as little spillage as possible.
Can I use these wart removers to treat genital warts?
No. Genital warts are caused by a different type of HPV virus, which is sexually transmitted. They can’t be treated using over-the-counter (OTC) meds like the ones we recommend here. Instead, you’ll need to get genital warts treated via prescription from an STI clinic or your GP.
The best wart removers you can buy in 2023
1. Bazuka Sub-Zero: Best wart remover to freeze your wart off in one go
Price: £12 | Buy now from Express Chemist
Here’s a chilling proposition for your wart. Bazuka’s precise, direct treatment works by freezing the offender to minus 46°C, which should be enough to kill and remove your wart (or verruca) after one application. The wart turns from skin colour to a sort of dead white, before it then “defrosts” again, eventually drying up and disappearing. Users report that this whole process takes about one week, and actually administering the treatment takes seconds.
Many home freezing kits can be quite tricky to use, but this one is easy and accurate. There’s no need to faff about with gloves, emery boards and plasters. There’s a bit of a sting during application, but it’s really satisfying to see the stuff actually working, and the risk of spillage is almost zero.
If the wart is a really stubborn one, there’s enough solution here for up to 12 applications, although you should only use it a maximum of three times (two weeks apart) on one wart. But it’s unlikely you’ll need to use it more than once.
Key specs – Size: 50ml; Type: Freeze; Active ingredient: Branded cryotherapy agent Verrukill; Suitable for: Age 4+ (by adults)
2. Bazuka Extra Strength: Best painless wart remover
Price: £6.30 | Buy now from Express Chemist
Bazuka Extra Strength is gentler than freeze treatments, but it’s the strongest acid treatment you can buy, with more than twice the salicylic acid content of regular Bazuka and similar products. You can use it every day if you’re tackling a particularly tenacious wart. You may need to help it along with the included emery board, but you won’t need to cover it with a plaster, because it dries really fast to create a water-resistant protective barrier that also helps to stop the infection from spreading.
Removal can take a couple of weeks or more, but that’s faster than most acid treatments. There’s none of the stinging discomfort you get with a freeze treatment, so it’s much more suitable for children. The main downside is that the stuff comes out of the tube fast when you first open it, so be careful not to get it on healthy skin.
Key specs – Size: 6g; Type: Acid; Active ingredient: Salicylic acid (26%); Suitable for: Age 2+ (by adults)
3. Wartner Wart & Verruca Cryo Freeze: Easiest wart remover to use
Price: £16 | Buy now from Superdrug
This Cryo Freeze pen is the new easy-to-use version of Wartner’s cryotherapy verruca treatment, which used to combine a foam applicator and fiddly sponges. The active ingredient is now carbon dioxide (CO2), which is less uncomfortable (and less flammable) than the old dimethyl ether. The new pen also makes the treatment easier to apply precisely, without touching healthy skin.
Wartner’s pen is somewhat less powerful than Bazuka Sub-Zero (above) or the Wartie freeze treatment further down our list, so you may prefer either of those to really blitz a wart fast. But this pen doesn’t sting as much as those two freeze treatments.
Key specs – Size: 14ml; Type: Freeze; Active ingredient: Carbon dioxide; Suitable for: Age 4+ (by adults)
4. Scholl Verruca & Wart Treatment Pen: Best wart remover to use on kids
Price: £8.07 | Buy now from Amazon
By combining the ease of a pen applicator with the relative gentleness of an acid treatment, Scholl’s Complete Treatment Pen is a great choice for removing small warts from children. It’s actually quite fun to use, too. You click the pen a couple of times, then use the precision tip to apply two drops of blue gel. 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. Again, your kids might enjoy that part.
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; Type: Acid; Active ingredient: TCA-Active (trichloroacetic) acid; Suitable for: Age 4+ (by adults)
5. Wartie Advanced Wart & Verruca Remover: Most powerful wart remover for adults with stubborn warts
Price: £16 | Buy now from Boots
Wartie Advanced is not for the faint-hearted, but it might finally blitz the wart other treatments failed to tackle. You basically have to stab the wart and chill it to its core. First you warm the precision metal tip in water, then use it to penetrate the built-up dead skin and deliver a concentrated dose of freezing dimethyl ether gas. There’s no contact at all with surrounding skin, so it’s not really any more painful than other home freeze treatments. However, it’s not recommended for kids younger than 12.
Key specs – Size: 50ml; Type: Freeze; Active ingredient: Dimethyl ether; Suitable for: Age 12+
6. Excilor 2in1 Wart & Verruca Treatment: Best combined freeze and acid wart remover
Price: £17 | Buy now from Amazon
Excilor 2-in-1 is a two-pronged attack, using acid to corrode the wart 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.
This belt-and-braces approach is designed to speed things up, potentially obliterating a wart in as little as five days, but not all users found it as fast or effective as promised. Perhaps by trying to do everything at once, it actually ends up not being powerful enough. Or it may be that many buyers use this as a last resort (it is quite expensive, after all) and are simply suffering from really stubborn warts that need to be frozen off by a doctor.
Key specs – Size: 12.5ml; Type: Acid and freeze; Active ingredient: ‘Cryo-Active’ freezing agent plus TCA-Active (Trichloroacetic) acid; Suitable for: Age 4+ (by adults)