Warts are small, harmless growths that develop on the skin. You may notice only one or they may grow in clusters. While they are usually painless, sometimes they can develop in places like the soles of the feet (known as plantar warts), which can be uncomfortable. Common warts often appear on the hands and arms while flat warts develop on the face and forehead. Plantar warts are typically found on the soles of the feet. Apart from developing these skin-colored growths, there usually aren’t any other symptoms associated with this condition.
What causes warts?
Warts are caused by an infection known as the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 strains of HPV that can develop in different areas of the body, from the mouth and skin to the genital region. The type of HPV that causes warts on the hands, feet, or rest of the body isn’t the same type that causes genital warts.
How do I treat warts?
Warts usually go away on their own once the body fights the infection; however, it can take months to years for the wart to go away. Therefore, if you feel embarrassed by the wart or if the wart is in an awkward or uncomfortable place then you may choose to visit a dermatologist to have it removed. If you are a healthy individual you may also consider trying an over-the-counter wart removal option before turning to a dermatologist.
You should see a dermatologist if:
- Warts are spreading or getting worse
- Warts aren’t responding to at-home treatment
- Warts are developing on your face or genitals
- Warts are painful, bleeding, or itching
- You have a weakened immune system
- You have diabetes
When you visit your dermatologist, they will first need to make sure that the growth is a wart. Depending on the type and location of the warts, your skin doctor will talk to you about your treatment options. Common ways to treat warts include,
This topical treatment is often used on warts of the hands, feet or knees, and you will need to apply the topical treatment daily for several weeks. After the solution is applied you will also use a pumice stone to file away the dead outer layer of skin from the wart. The acid treatment will continue to kill the wart layer by layer until it’s completely gone.
Freezing the Wart
This is another common method for removing a wart. Liquid nitrogen is sprayed on the wart to freeze it. This is also referred to as cryotherapy. More than one liquid nitrogen treatment session may be needed in order to completely remove the wart.
Other options for removing a wart include burning, cutting or removing the wart with a laser, and these treatment options are often used on warts that don’t respond to the other treatments above. If you are dealing with warts and want to turn to a dermatologist to have it removed, then call to make your next appointment.
The effects of chickenpox may last beyond your childhood infection. Shingles, a widespread, itchy, painful rash, can break out at any time in adulthood because the causative agent, the Varicella Zoster virus, lies dormant within the body for life. Your dermatologist can help you control the awful pain and dangerous complications of shingles. He or she also has suggestions on avoiding an outbreak of this common and contagious skin disease.
What does shingles look like? A shingles rash is a reddened, itchy, oozing skin rash composed of raised blisters. Typically, it is widespread on the face near the eye, on the torso (front wrapping around to the back), or on the neck. People experience exceptional pain for at least two to six weeks, and due to damaged nerve endings, some individuals have unresolved pain for years.
What are the potential complications? Just like its childhood counterpart, shingles is contagious. So, people exposed to your shingle rash may develop chickenpox if they have never been sick with it previously.
Plus, shingles may lead to serious vision or hearing problems, fever, balance issues, and light sensitivity. People with a weakened immune system are potential shingles sufferers, and unfortunately, perfectly healthy people who have a shingles flare-up can then become immunosuppressed. In short, shingles is nothing to joke about.
How is it treated? Mild cases respond to cool baths, skin calming lotions, topical steroids and over the counter pain relievers. More severe flare-ups may require narcotic pain relievers, anti-convulsants, steroidal injections and numbing medications applied directly to the skin. Medications such as Acyclovir and Valacyclovir help dampen the spread of the virus.
Can you prevent an outbreak of shingles? Your dermatologist or primary care physician may provide you with a shingles vaccine to greatly reduce your chances of having shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology says that Zostavoax is for patients over 60, and the Shingrix vaccine may be administered beginning at age 50.
Find out more
Your dermatologist is an excellent resource for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of simple to complex skin conditions and diseases. If you are starting a shingle outbreak or desire to prevent one, call your skin doctor for a consultation. He or she will inform you on the best ways to stay as healthy as possible.
Mole Removal: What to Expect
Worried about that mole? A mole is a dark spot or irregularity in the skin. Everyone is at risk of skin cancer and should keep an eye on their skin and moles. Simply thinking about having a skin mole removed might send shivers down your spine, but sometimes it’s necessary for your health. For example, if a biopsy is cancerous, removing the mole can help to stop any cancer from growing more. But many individuals also have moles removed for cosmetic reasons.
What Causes Moles?
Skin moles occur in all races and skin colors. Some individuals are born with moles. Most skin moles appear in early childhood and during the first 20 years of a person's life. New moles appearing after age 35 may require medical evaluation, and possible biopsy. Some moles appear later in life. Sun exposure seems to play a role in the development of skin moles. People with high levels of exposure to UV light tend to have more moles. However, moles may also occur in sun-protected areas.
How Is It Done?
Mole removal is a simple kind of surgical procedure. Your doctor will likely choose one of two ways: surgical shave or surgical excision. Surgical shave is done more often on small skin moles. After numbing the area, your healthcare provider will use a blade to shave off the mole and some tissue underneath it. Stitches aren’t usually required. During the surgical excision procedure, your doctor will numb the area. He or she will use a circular blade or scalpel to cut out the mole and some skin around it. The doctor will then stitch the skin closed.
Can a Mole Grow Back?
There's a small chance that a mole can grow back after mole surgery, although there's no way to predict whether this will happen. It's important to understand that no surgery has a 100 percent cure rate. Some mole cells may remain in the skin and may recur in the same area. Some skin moles are more aggressive than others and need closer follow-up and additional treatment.
Are There Any Risks?
Risks of mole removal methods include infection, rare anesthetic allergy, and very rare nerve damage. Follow your doctor's instructions to care for the wound until it heals. This means keeping it covered, clean and moist. The area may bleed a little when you get home, especially if you take medications that thin your blood. It's always prudent to choose a doctor with appropriate skills and experience with these removals. This will lower the risks associated with this procedure.
Take charge of your health today. Regular self-skin examinations and annual skin examinations by a doctor help people find early skin cancers. If you need a mole check, find a dermatologist near you and schedule your annual skin cancer screening.A simple skin cancer screening could save your life.
Discover helpful acne-fighting tips and trick to achieve clearer skin.
You’re trying to find the right way to get your acne under control, right? Well, there are certainly so many options out there that it can be a bit daunting. First and foremost, if you are just starting to deal with acne then you may want to tackle the issue from the comfort of your own home before turning to a dermatologist for help.
At-Home Treatment Options
The first line of defense is usually to try an over-the-counter acne cleanser or topical cream that contains an active ingredient such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. It’s important to be patient when it comes to seeing results. No acne product will work overnight. In fact, it can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks of consistent use before you start to notice results from commercial acne products, so don’t give up on a product too soon.
Other tips to follow include:
- Cleaning your smartphone with disinfectant wipes at lease once a day (imagine just how much bacteria your phone picks up everyday).
- Washing your face twice a day, once in the morning and at night before bedtime, and immediately after sweating.
- Being gentle with your skin. Harsh scrubs and being aggressive won’t get rid of acne; it will actually just make it worse.
- Using cosmetic products that won’t clog pores (look for words like “non-comedogenic” or “oil free”)
- Leaving acne alone (do not pick acne or try to extract it yourself, as this can lead to scarring)
- Washing pillowcases regularly to get rid of pore-clogging bacteria
When to See a Dermatologist
If you are having trouble getting your acne under control after weeks of trial and error, or if your acne is severe and painful then it’s time to enlist the help of a dermatologist who will be able to provide you with more effective strategies for getting rid of your acne. After all, there are different things that can cause acne and it’s important that your skin doctor figures out what’s causing your acne so that they can create the right treatment plan for you.
Dermatologist-Approved Acne Treatment Options
Depending on what’s causing your breakouts, a dermatologist may recommend these treatment options:
- Topical treatment: Prescription-strength cleansers, ointments, and creams containing glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinoids can target and eliminate acne.
- Topical or oral antibiotics: Antibiotics can reduce inflammation and kill the bacteria responsible for acne.
- Oral contraceptives: If you are dealing with breakouts that occur around your menstrual cycle then hormonal fluctuations could be causing your acne. There are certain types of birth control pills that have been FDA approved to fight acne.
- Isotretinoin: More commonly referred to as Accutane, this powerful oral medication is used for those dealing with severe cystic acne that can lead to deep scarring. This is often recommended when other treatment options haven’t been effective.
Have questions about getting your acne under control? Then it’s time to consult with a dermatologist.
What is Psoriasis?
Have you been experiencing bumpy, white-scale-topped patches of red skin erupting over certain parts of your body? These itchy, sometimes painful plaques could be the result of an undiagnosed case of psoriasis. Although this skin disorder does not have a cure, there are several treatment options that can lead to symptom relief. Read on to learn more about psoriasis and how your local dermatologist can help!
The Background on Psoriasis
While there is no medical consensus on what exactly causes psoriasis, experts generally point towards an abnormality in how T cells operate in a patient’s immune system. T cells are normally used by the body in order to defend against foreign threats, such as viruses or bacteria. However, for those with psoriasis, these cells become overactive and start to treat healthy skin cells as if they were harmful. In turn, this leads the body to behave as if it had a wound to heal, or an infection to fight. As a result, sporadic patches of irritated skin begin to erupt on certain parts of the body.
Both the appearance of these symptoms and the level of their severity can be triggered through a number of factors, including:
- Skin infections
- Skin injuries
- Heavy stress
- Regular tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Use of specific medications, such as lithium, beta blockers, antimalarial drugs, and iodides
Although there is no cure for the disorder, your local dermatologist has a number of treatment methods that can slow down the growth of skin cells responsible for psoriasis’ uncomfortable rashes. An appointment with your skin doctor can determine which of these options is right for you:
- Steroid cream
- Coal tar (available in lotions, creams, foams, soaps, and shampoos)
- Ultraviolet therapy
- Retinoid (not recommended for women who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant)
- Methotrexate (only for serious cases)
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You don’t need to live with the full discomfort of psoriasis; give our office a call today and discover how we can help!
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