Warts and Molloscum
Warts and molloscum are viral overgrowths of the skin. They are benign but contagious, and can spread anywhere on the body, including the mouth and anogenital skin. A wart is a growth of the human papillomavirus, while a molloscum is a growth of the molloscum contagious (MC) virus.
It takes several weeks (or months) before the spot on the skin is noticeable from the time the infection got in contact with the skin. As they grow, they tend to have no symptoms, although occasionally they become itchy or painful (especially the bottom of the feet). At Michigan Dermatology Institute, we believe that safe and effective early treatment is important to prevent the spread of these pesky and sometimes embarrassing spots.
Q: How do I help to prevent these viruses from spreading?
A: The most important thing is to prevent touching and traumatizing them. Direct contact, including swimming pools, help to spread these spots. It’s important to cover them with bandaids or duct tape and if on the bottom of the foot, never to be barefoot.
Q: What treatments are performed on these spots?
A: Treatments vary depending on the location, size and stubbornness of the spot. For warts, one can apply duct tape with or without over-the-counter salicylic acid products, use topical prescription medications (aldara, retin-A, podophyllin, etc), or have in-office, more effective treatments including liquid nitrogen, cantharidin (“beetlejuice”), electrosurgery (burning) and curettage (scraping) or excision. For molloscum, one can try over the counter lemon myrtle essential oil or tea tree oil with iodine, use topical prescription retin-A, or have in-office treatments with cryotherapy, cantharidin, or curettage (scraping).
Q: Will I always have warts and molloscum?
A: The answer is both yes and no. We can say no by using the treatments mentioned, one can get rid of the current warts and molloscum. We can say yes because unfortunately they can come back or new spots can develop at other locations at any time. It is necessary to continue to monitor your skin, and if a new spot develops, make your appointment with Michigan Dermatology Institute to help keep these stubborn spots in check.