Dermatologist Dr Jemima Mellerio explains what are Warts and Verrucas, what causes Warts and Verrucas in children, what are the signs and symptoms of Warts and Verrucas and how a Dermatologist treats Warts and Verrucas in children.
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Warts and verrucas are rough areas that develop on the skin as the result of a virus infection. They can occur anywhere on the skin but particularly they tend to occur on areas such as the hands and the feet. When you get warts occurring on the feet this is what we would call a verrucas. Warts can either develop on their own in isolation or they can come up in clusters.
Warts are caused by a viral infection, by human papillomavirus (HPV). There are lots of different types of human papillomavirus but certain ones have a predilection for skin infections giving life to warts. Warts on the skin usually manifest as a little raised rough area of skin but sometimes they can be more prominent sometimes even with finger-like projections of skin.
On the hands and feet warts or verrucas can be an area of thickened of skin which develops little tiny black dots within them and this is very characteristic. Warts and verrucas will often clear on their own so often don’t specifically need treatment however if they are problematic, for example if they’re causing pain on the soles of the feet they can be treated. Dermatologists will often treat them with a cold spray called cryotherapy and what this does is to cause inflammation in the skin and to try and recruit the patient’s own immune system to clear the wart virus.
A lot of children find this too painful and it wouldn’t be something that we would offer to smaller children. In these cases we can recommend over-the-counter treatments of preparations such as salicylic acid which can be painted on or applied to the warts and verrucas and then the skin filed to keep it down and to help the wart or verruca to clear. An alternative treatment for warts and verrucas in children would be to use duct tape, electrical insulating tape.
This can be applied to the wart or verruca for six days and then on the seventh day taken off and the thickened skin filed down gently. The whole cycle can be repeated again by putting the duct tape on the following day for another six days, then on the 7 day taking it off and filing it down and certainly as a pain-less method for wart removal this may be more acceptable for children.
This video on how a Dermatologist treats Warts and Verrucas is part of the series of Dermatology video’s on dermatology conditions, produced to help patients and their families, general practitioners and other specialists, and for those who are interested in Dermatology. You can watch all the videos on The London Skin and Hair Clinic YouTube channel.
Looking for further information? You can find out more about Warts and Verrucas here.