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Can banana skins treat verrucas?

A local chiropodist insists that taping the inside of a banana skin overnight to a verruca is an effective treatment, apparently because of the enzymes released. Is this just an old wives’ tale?

A local chiropodist insists that taping the inside of a banana skin overnight to a verruca is an effective treatment, apparently because of the enzymes released. Is this just an old wives' tale?

Cutaneous viral warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Although estimates of prevalence vary widely, they represent an extremely common presenting complaint, especially in children. Plantar warts on the soles of the feet can be especially troublesome.

There has been a varying level of interest in the potential therapeutic role of banana skins in the treatment of a wide range of dermatological conditions, including plantar warts. Most sources of information are anecdotal, with only one reference identified from a search of the scientific literature.(ref 1) Practically, this treatment involves the opposition of a cut piece of banana skin to the cutaneous wart, held in situ with an adhesive dressing.

So the evidence base for this form of therapy is poor. However, there is a paucity of robust data to guide a rational approach to the topical treatment of cutaneous warts. Nevertheless, simple occlusion with duct tape in association with paring down of the wart is an effective and safe strategy.

Indeed, it may be the occlusion associated with holding the banana skin in situ that is responsible for its purported therapeutic effect. A systematic review of topical treatments available for cutaneous warts demonstrated salicylic acid preparations had most evidence for efficacy. (ref 2)

Most warts resolve within 12 months, so a conservative approach is a valid option if the wart is asymptomatic. However, if troublesome, occlusion of warts with banana skins is safe and may be effective, although robust evidence is lacking.

Occlusion alone, rather than what is taped to the wart, may be responsible for the purported therapeutic effects Plantar wart

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