Warts are the result of a virus known as the human papillomavirus (HPV), and they can easily be spread from one person to another through skin-to-skin contact or by sharing items such as towels or clothes with the infected individual. While warts of the hands may be unsightly or embarrassing, it’s important to note that these growths are benign and harmless. Here’s what you should know about treating warts, including how a dermatologist will treat this common skin problem.
How do I know that it’s a wart?
If you’ve never had a wart before then you may not know what this little growth is at first. Warts are raised, skin-colored bumps that may be rough to the touch and grainy in appearance. If you look closely at the bump you may notice little black dots. These are small blood vessels. Since warts can be confused for cysts and other lesions, it may be a good idea to see a dermatologist first before you begin treatment.
How are warts treated?
Some people simply wait until their body fights the infection and the wart eventually goes away, but this can take months or even years. People who are dealing with warts in more sensitive and visible places such as their hands are more likely to want to get rid of the wart a lot sooner. Many healthy individuals turn to over-the-counter remedies first. There are salicylic acid solutions that you can apply directly to the wart and will need to continue to reapply regularly. This solution will shed layers of the wart until gone.
While no study tests the effectiveness of duct tape for removing warts, it not an unsafe practice or option (and if it works for you, great!). If you’ve given it a valiant effort to treat the wart on your own but it just doesn’t seem to respond to over-the-counter treatment options, or it returns, then it’s time to see your dermatologist. A dermatologist offers a variety of ways to remove a wart, including,
- Cryotherapy: Freezing the wart off is a common method for removing warts
- Cantharidin: A chemical is applied to the wart, which causes it to blister and fall off
- Surgical excision: If the bumps do not respond to other treatment options or are in hard-to-treat areas, this may be the ideal method for removal
We understand that warts can develop in rather awkward and sometimes uncomfortable places like the hands. If this happens to you and you don’t want to wait until your body clears the infection to get rid of your wart, then a dermatologist can provide you with the treatment you need to remove the wart more quickly.
- Sores in the mouth and nose (mucous membrane sores)
- Hair loss, sometimes caused by discoid lesions
- Purple spots (due to broken blood vessels) on the legs
How is molluscum contagiosum contracted?
You may be wondering how your child contracted this poxvirus. There are several ways to transmit this viral infection: skin-to-skin contact, sharing items such as towels or clothes, sexual transmission (in adults), and scratching your own lesions (this can lead to further spreading of the papules).
It can take anywhere from two weeks to six months to develop symptoms after exposure. Once a child or person has molluscum contagiosum they typically aren’t infected again in the future.
How is this condition diagnosed?
If you notice any bumps on your child that persist for days, you must consult your dermatologist to find out what’s going on. A simple dermatoscopy (a painless, non-invasive procedure that allows your dermatologist to examine a skin lesion or growth) can determine whether the papule is due to molluscum contagiosum. If MC is not suspected, your dermatologist may biopsy the bump for further evaluation.
How is molluscum contagiosum treated?
Since this is the result of a viral infection, antibiotics will not be an effective treatment option. In fact, the body simply needs time to fight the virus. Your dermatologist may just tell you to wait until the infection runs its course and clears up on its own.
If the papules are widespread and affecting your teen’s appearance and self-esteem, then you may wish to talk with a dermatologist about ways to get rid of the spots. Cryotherapy or certain creams may be recommended to treat and get rid of these spots.
If you are living with others, it’s important to avoid sharing any clothing or towels with the infected child or person. Make sure that your child does not scratch the bumps, which can lead to further spreading of the infection.
If your child is dealing with a rash, raised bumps, or any skin problems and you’re not sure what’s going on, it’s best to talk with a qualified dermatologist who can easily diagnose the issue and provide you with effective solutions for how to treat it.
Most people don’t know what impetigo is. Maybe you haven’t even heard of it. This contagious bacterial skin infection is most often seen in babies and children; however, adults can catch this infection, too. Dermatologists often see a rise in impetigo cases during the summer. How does impetigo even happen in the first place?
Well, our skin is home to millions of bacteria. Most of them are actually good bacteria that help you stay healthy; however, bad bacteria can develop on the skin too. If these bad bacteria can get into a wound or opening in the skin, this can cause impetigo.
What are the symptoms?
Impetigo causes red bumps mostly on the arms, legs, and face. These bumps will eventually turn into blisters that will crust over. The skin under and around the blisters may look raw. At first, you may only notice one or two spots; however, the condition will continue to spread. Bumps may itch or also be tender.
Who is at risk for impetigo?
As we said, we often see this condition in children and infants; however, certain factors can also put adults at risk. You may be more at risk for impetigo if you have been diagnosed with,
- Liver conditions
- Eczema or dermatitis
Since many skin conditions cause painful blisters to form it’s important to see a dermatologist right away for a proper diagnosis. When you come into the office, our skin doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history to help rule out what conditions it could be. A physical examination performed by a qualified dermatologist is often all that’s needed to make a diagnosis; however, we may collect fluid from the blister to look for the presence of bacteria.
How do you treat impetigo?
It’s important to see a doctor for treatment because impetigo will require antibiotics. Depending on the severity of the blisters, your dermatologist may simply prescribe an antibiotic cream, while those with more widely affected areas or more severe symptoms may require oral antibiotics. Once you start taking the medication you should recover within a week.
If you or your little one is dealing with symptoms of impetigo you must see a dermatology professional right away for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Think You Have Shingles?
If you notice a blister-like rash developing on one side of the body it’s possible that you could have shingles. If you suspect that you have shingles, you must see a doctor.
Those over the age of 60 years old as well as those with chronic conditions such as diabetes are more at risk for complications related to shingles, so you must seek immediate dermatology care from a qualified doctor. A dermatologist can also rule out other possible conditions or infections.
For the antiviral medication to be most effective, you must see a doctor right away if you think you have shingles. The most common types of antiviral medications used to treat shingles include acyclovir and valacyclovir. These antivirals can speed up the healing process and reduce the severity of your symptoms.
- Applying cold compresses to the rash
- Soaking in a cool oatmeal bath
- Wearing light, loose-fitted clothing that won’t rub against the rash
- Applying calamine lotion to reduce itching
- Managing stress effectively and finding ways to help you relax
- Eating healthy, balanced meals
- Getting good quality sleep every night
The good news is that there is a shingles vaccine that can protect you against this infection. If you are over the age of 50, you could benefit from the shingles vaccine so ask your doctor. The vaccine can protect you from shingle for up to five years.
If you are worried that you might have shingles, or if you’re interested in finding out whether or not you should get the shingles vaccine, a qualified dermatologist will be able to answer all of your questions and provide you with the custom dermatology treatment you need to ease your symptoms.
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