What Are Warts & Molluscum?

Warts and molluscum are common skin conditions caused by viral infections. Warts are typically raised, rough growths that can appear anywhere on the body, while molluscum presents as small, flesh-colored bumps with a central indentation. Both conditions are contagious and can spread through direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with contaminated objects. At Upper West Side Dermatology, our experienced dermatologists specialize in diagnosing and treating warts and molluscum to help patients achieve clear and healthy skin.

What Are The Causes of Warts & Molluscum?

Warts are caused by infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV), of which there are over 100 different strains. Different strains of HPV can cause different types of warts, including common warts, plantar warts, and genital warts. Molluscum contagiosum is caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV), a member of the poxvirus family. These viruses are highly contagious and can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person or contaminated objects. Understanding the underlying viral cause is essential in developing effective treatment strategies for warts and molluscum.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms of Warts & Molluscum?

Signs and symptoms of warts include raised, rough growths on the skin that may be flesh-colored, white, pink, or brown. Warts can vary in size and shape and may appear individually or in clusters. Molluscum contagiosum presents as small, round, flesh-colored bumps with a central indentation or white core. These bumps are typically painless but may become itchy or irritated, especially if scratched. Prompt evaluation and treatment by a dermatologist are essential to prevent the spread of warts and molluscum and alleviate symptoms.

What Are The Risk Factors of Warts & Molluscum?

Several factors may increase the risk of developing warts and molluscum, including close contact with an infected person, compromised immune system, and skin-to-skin contact in warm, moist environments such as swimming pools or locker rooms. Children, adolescents, and individuals with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to these viral infections. Understanding and addressing these risk factors can help reduce the likelihood of developing warts and molluscum and minimize the risk of transmission to others.

How Are Warts & Molluscum Diagnosed?

Diagnosing warts and molluscum usually involves a visual examination by a dermatologist, who will assess the appearance and location of the lesions. In some cases, a skin biopsy or viral culture may be performed to confirm the diagnosis, especially if the lesions are atypical or treatment-resistant. Proper diagnosis is crucial in developing an effective treatment plan tailored to the individual needs of each patient and preventing the spread of infection to others.

What Are Possible Treatments For Warts & Molluscum?

Treatment options for warts and molluscum depend on the type, location, and severity of the lesions. Common treatments for warts include topical medications such as salicylic acid, cryotherapy (freezing), laser therapy, or surgical removal. Molluscum contagiosum may be treated with topical medications, cryotherapy, curettage (scraping), or laser therapy. Our dermatologists at Upper West Side Dermatology specialize in developing personalized treatment plans to effectively eliminate warts and molluscum and prevent recurrence.

Pediatric Care For Warts & Molluscum

Pediatric care for warts and molluscum is essential for effectively managing these common viral infections in children. At Upper West Side Dermatology, our Pediatric Dermatology team specializes in providing comprehensive care for pediatric patients with warts and molluscum. Our pediatric dermatologists utilize gentle and effective treatment modalities to address warts and molluscum while minimizing discomfort for young patients. We prioritize the comfort and well-being of children throughout their treatment journey, striving to achieve clear and healthy skin for every child under our care.

Are There Preventative Steps or Measures To Avoid Warts & Molluscum?

While it may not be possible to completely prevent warts and molluscum, several measures can help reduce the risk of infection and transmission. These include avoiding direct contact with infected individuals or contaminated objects, practicing good hand hygiene, and avoiding scratching or picking at lesions to prevent spreading the virus. Additionally, wearing protective footwear in communal areas such as swimming pools or locker rooms can help reduce the risk of contracting plantar warts. Prompt treatment of any suspicious lesions can also help prevent the spread of infection to others.

What Are The Risks If Warts & Molluscum Are Left Untreated?

If left untreated, warts and molluscum can persist for months or even years and may spread to other areas of the body or to other individuals through direct contact or sharing of contaminated objects. Scratching or picking at lesions can lead to secondary bacterial infections or scarring. In some cases, particularly in immunocompromised individuals, warts and molluscum may become chronic or recurrent, requiring more aggressive treatment strategies. Seeking timely evaluation and treatment from a dermatologist is essential in preventing these potential risks and complications.

Are There Other Related Conditions To Warts & Molluscum?

Several other skin conditions may be related to or associated with warts and molluscum, including viral infections such as herpes simplex virus (HSV) and varicella-zoster virus (VZV). These infections may present with similar symptoms such as skin lesions or blisters, making accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment essential. Additionally, certain autoimmune conditions or inflammatory skin conditions may mimic the appearance of warts or molluscum, further highlighting the importance of proper evaluation by a dermatologist. Our dermatologists at Upper West Side Dermatology specialize in diagnosing and treating a wide range of skin conditions, ensuring comprehensive care for patients with warts and molluscum and related conditions.

Meet Upper West Side Derm

Dr. Rothman grew up in the SF Bay Area but considers herself an Upper West Sider after living in the neighborhood for twenty years. She is very excited to be taking care of patients on the UWS! Learn More »