Almost every successful wart product in the world is based on salicylic acid. The level is somewhere between 10 and 20% and the base is a solvent rich gel that dries to form a white film. They all work pretty well, and there is not much if anything to choose between them. The popular one in the UK at the moment is called Bazuka. It is no better, and indeed no worse, than any of the others. But is does have the most gansta sounding name. The advertising campaign promising to bazuka your verruca struck a chord, and the rest is viral skin infection history.
The way these products works is fairly simple, but it is a good idea to understand it to get the best results. The wart is a virus that infects a small area of skin giving it an unsightly appearance. It doesn’t do any harm apart from just not looking very nice, but given the choice most people would choose to get rid of them. The reason that they persist – often for decades – is simply that they are too far away from the bloodstream for the body’s immune system to recognise them.
What the salicylic acid does is break down the protein of the skin and in the process destroy the wart. The salicylic acid is quite indiscriminate and will destroy any uninfected skin to which it is applied as well. It is the ultimate in non-specific therapies. There is a great temptation to splash a generous dollop of the product onto the skin. This is a waste of product and of your skin and won’t make getting rid of the wart any quicker. It will also make the whole process a lot more painful and uncomfortable than it needs to be. The best approach is to apply a small amount directly onto the wart itself. Repeat until the wart has gone, which will probably involve some reddening of the skin and some discomfort.
Some products provide emery boards to remove the dead skin produced during the treatment. This can help, but is far from necessary. If you have more than one wart it is worth treating them one at a time. The advantage of this is that there is a good chance that the disruption to the wart will bring it into contact with your immune system, and this may prompt your body to produce the antibodies that will kill off the untreated warts. You will also be immune to them for some time to come.
Verrucas are basically the same as warts, but located on the soles of the feet deeper in the flesh. The basic salicylic acid treatment approach works for them as well, but it takes a bit longer and needs a bit more patience.