Viral Growths-Warts and Molluscum

Two types of benign viral growths commonly affect the skin: common warts and a less well known but often equally troublesome problem with an imposing name, molluscum contagiosum. Besides being cosmetically embarrassing, there is another compelling reason you should seek medical attention for these conditions. Since both warts and molluscum are caused by viruses, both are potentially contagious, or spreadable, not only to other areas of your own skin, but to other people. Three varieties of true warts can affect your face: common warts and flat warts.

All are caused by types of warts viruses called human papillomaviruses. Common warts appear as flesh-colored, rugged-surfaced bumps, and tiny pinpoint, black specks may stipple their surface. Filiform warts are soft, slender, fingerlike growths. Flat warts are flesh-colored or tan, soft, flat-topped bumps. For treating numerous flat warts of the face, I recommend the use of electro surgery. For common warts, I usually use electro surgery followed by curettage. For filiform warts, I prefer scissor excision followed by electro surgery of the wound base. Cryosurgery is an excellent alternative method for treating warts. Because of their superficial location in the skin. Scalpel excision is unwarranted for the removal of any type of wart.

Prescription or nonprescription antiwart acid preparations are also sometimes recommended for home use between surgical treatments. These wart therapies may occasionally be successful, but it normally takes several weeks of daily applications to achieve success. Most people find home therapy a nuisance and often forget to follow the regimen that their doctor has outlined for them.

Molluscum contagiosum lesions are flesh-colored, waxy-looking bumps that are elevated above the surface and have a central depression right on their peaks. They are shaped something like burned-out volcanoes. If you see one, look more carefully. You will often find others nearby.

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