While warts and molluscum aren’t necessarily concerning, they’re often unsightly or make you feel embarrassed. They can be painful when on sites that endure frequent pressure like the fingers, hands, and feet. Additionally, they are contagious and can continue to spread on your skin and those who you come in contact with frequently. If you have cauliflower-like lesions or a number of small, spreading bumps, Patricia O’Connor, MD, and the expert team at Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center in Glen Allen and Chesterfield, Virginia, offer solutions. They treat these bumps to stop their spread and give you smooth and healthy skin. Schedule an appointment by calling the nearest Richmond-area office today. Alternatively, you can send us a message to book an appointment on our contact page.
Warts are often harmless skin growths caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).
Molluscum contagiosum is another common viral infection of the skin that is more common in children. While they are easier to treat than warts, they spread faster.
These viruses commonly occur on the following sites but can develop anywhere the virus enters breaks in the skin:
Warts and molluscum might go away on their own, especially in children, or they may increase in size and spread to other parts of your body or to others who come in contact with your skin. While not dangerous, warts can cause discomfort, irritation, and embarrassment.
Warts are bumps that might appear in various areas of your body. They may look like:
Molluscum contagiosum causes firm, round, painless bumps. These typically have central depressions and a smooth surface.
Warts and molluscum contagiosum can spread through person-to-person contact or exposure to infected objects. They also spread to surrounding skin if you bump, scratch, or pick at them (this is called auto-inoculation). People with weak immune systems or a broken skin barrier like those with eczema are more likely to get warts and experience their spread.
To reduce your risk of developing warts, have visible warts removed, don’t walk through public areas without shoes, maintain your skin’s barrier with moisturizer, and avoid known contact with warts.
Your Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center specialist can diagnose warts and molluscum contagiosum with a simple visual exam in most cases. Occasionally these lesions occur in settings that make diagnosis more difficult and require scraping off its top layer to check for dark dots (clotted blood vessels), or removing a section of it for a biopsy – microscopic evaluation that will confirm the diagnosis.
To remove warts and molluscum contagiosum, your dermatologist offers a wide array of options including:
Freezing, or cryotherapy, uses liquid nitrogen to destroy the wart, allowing it to slough off after about a week. Multiple treatments might be necessary as warts can affect deep layers of the skin and all infected cells need to be killed to avoid recurrence.
‘Beetle juice’, cantharidin is a lacquer derived from the blister beetle. In the office, this lacquer is painted on individual warts or molluscum, and allowed to dry. After a recommended number of hours, the lacquer is washed off at home and several hours later, a blister will develop at the treated site. Ideally, the virus will be contained in the roof of the blister and will be peeled away or slough off. However, typically this requires several visits to ensure complete removal of the virus.
Prescription creams that work with your body’s immune system may be used at home in between in-office treatments to shorten the time necessary to completely rid the skin of the wart virus, or HPV.
Your Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center specialist offers prescription-strength wart medications containing salicylic acid. These topical medicines will cause peeling of the skin leading to the removal of warts layers at a time. This can be used at home in conjunction with stronger, in-office procedures.
Don’t live with warts or molluscum contagiosum when simple treatments that are available at Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center can remove them. Call the nearest office, or send us a message to book an appointment on our contact page.
References and Resources: