Dermatology Treatments

Allergic Contact Rashes

Also known as allergic contact dermatitis, people experience inflamed skin when they are in contact with allergens. This could appear as itching, redness, scaling, a rash, or even blisters in severe circumstances. After a while, the skin could become leathery and darken in colour.

Cause

Many different things could cause allergic reactions. Allergens could include common substances like:

  • Metals
  • Rubber
  • Dyes
  • Topical antibiotics
  • Skin care products
  • Poison ivy or other plants

Diagnosis

Dermatologists will try to determine the allergens that caused your reaction by discussing different substances you may have come in contact with at home or at work. In addition to reviewing your health history, the specialist will also inspect the rash. Patch tests are allergy skin tests that will also help determine the cause of the allergic reaction. Here, the dermatologist will put small amounts of allergens on strips of tape and apply these strips to the skin. The doctor removes the strips after a couple of days and looks for red spots at the site of the patch, which if present, would determine an allergy.

Treatment

First of all, treatment would include avoiding the allergen. Steroid creams or oral antihistamines can also be prescribed. If it is a severe case, the dermatologist may administer oral corticosteroids or injections, as well as antibiotics to treat infected skin.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata, or AA, is another term for hair loss. It may occur in small patches that may be temporary or long-term. Those with AA may also lose all scalp and body hair. This condition can happen with anyone – male and female and every ethnic background – but is most frequently seen in children and young adults.

Signs and symptoms may include coin-sized bare patches on the scalp as well as eyebrows, eyelashes and beards. People may also experience itching where a new patch is developing. Small dents in fingernails may also be a sign of AA.

Hair does usually regrow, but can also fall out again. This cycle can be quite frustrating for many people.

Causes

In bodies of those who have AA, the immune system is attacking its own hair follicles. Genetics sometimes play a factor, but otherwise, the cause of AA is not really known. While it is not a symptom of another serious disease, people who have AA can be at higher risk for atopic eczema, asthma and nasal allergies, as well as autoimmune diseases.

Diagnosis

A dermatologist will examine your scalp and may also perform a scalp biopsy.

Treatment

There are some treatments that can promote hair growth, but there is no cure for AA, so patches of hair loss will continue to appear. Treatments to promote hair growth may include corticosteroids injected into affected areas, topical minoxidil 5% solution which is applied twice daily to the areas of hair loss, as well as anthralin, which is a tar-like substance that is also applied.

Acne

Almost everyone has experienced acne at one time or another. The most common skin condition in the United States, it is experienced by all ages although it is most common in teenagers and young adults.

Causes

Acne is usually caused by excess oil, clogged pores, bacteria and inflammation. Certain foods can make acne worse for some people. Greasy foods can leave oil around the mouth, which can also worsen the acne. Genetics, hormones, menstruation and emotional stress are other factors that may trigger acne.

Diagnosis

If the acne is caused by inflammation, a dermatologist can examine the type of acne that you are experiencing. When the inflammation is light, it means the extra oil (called sebum) is close to the surface of the skin, meaning you have blackheads or whiteheads. Otherwise, a deeper blockage could result in pimples. Even deeper blockages could result in pus-filled pimples. The most severe type of acne could result in nodules or cysts, which can also be painful.

Treatment

There are several treatment options for acne, though there are no immediate cures. It usually takes four to eight weeks of ongoing treatment to reduce acne. Remember to use oil-free cosmetics. Do not squeeze, pick, scratch or pop pimples as this can cause scarring.

Topical treatments include gels, lotions and creams such as benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics, retinoids and salicylic acid. Systemic treatment options include oral antibiotics, combination therapy, birth control pills containing estrogen, as well as corticosteroid injections.

In terms of treating the appearance of scars, the options include laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, chemical peels, surgery or skin fillers.

Actinic Keratoses

These skin lesions are fairly common and are also known as sunspots; they appear on parts of the body that are most exposed to sun. They are also considered the earliest stage in skin cancer development.

The lesion appears as a dry and scaly bump (like sandpaper) that can be skin-colored or reddish-brown. It can be as small as a pinhead or even larger than a quarter. It can also grow upward and look like a horn; these tend to occur near the ear. Actinic Keratosis, or AK, can also form on the lower lip.

Treatment

Cryosurgery is a treatment that involves applying substances like liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin, allowing the surface to flake off. Topical chemotherapy is a cancer-fighting cream that can also be used. Similarly, topical immunotherapy can be applied to the skin to stimulate the immune system and encourage it to destroy AK. Topical NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) options are available as well.

Another option is photodynamic therapy, which makes the skin more sensitive to light. Then, exposing the skin to blue and red light activates the solution to destroy AK. Chemical peeling allows new skin to appear, whereas laser skin resurfacing uses lasers to remove damaged skin, rather than using chemicals.

Prevention

Preventing these sunspots is important. Avoid the sun by staying in the shade, wearing protective clothing and applying sunscreen.

Atypical Nevus

Also known as benign irregular moles, this condition is common on the trunk of the body, but can also appear on the scalp, head and neck. It is rare to see these moles on the face.

Treatment

No treatment is needed, but if melanoma is suspected, the dermatologist will remove part or the entire mole and send it to the lab for analysis. Be sure to look for signs of change, including color, size, shape, and feeling (itching or burning) of the mole.

Familial atypical mole-melanoma syndrome (FAMM) If someone is diagnosed with FAMM, there is a greater risk of melanoma. People with this syndrome will have all of the following:

  • First or second-degree relative who had melanoma
  • Often more than 100 moles that vary in size
  • Certain features that show under a microscope

Those with FAMM should get a full-body screening every three to six months, monthly exams, ophthalmology exams and skin photography to monitor changes. Blood relatives should screen for skin cancer as well.

Prevention

Be aware of the ABCDEs of melanoma and monitor the moles on your body: asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolving.

Take extra care by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing. Stay in the shade and be cautious near water, snow and sand that reflect the sun. Avoid tanning beds and instead, get vitamin D through supplements and healthy food. Remember to check your skin monthly.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

The most common form of skin cancer and most common type of cancer in the world, basal cell carcinoma, is very serious. Risk factors include fair skin, blue or green eyes, blond or red hair, family history of skin cancer, weakened immune system, having received radiation therapy, as well as increasing age. Exposure to coal tar, pitch, creosote and arsenic also increase risk to this type of cancer.

Diagnosis

A dermatologist will do a biopsy to determine whether it is skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma will appear as a small, dome-shaped spot of a pearly color. It could also be a shiny pink patch or a recurring sore. The most common form is a white or yellowish waxy scar.

Treatment

There are several treatment options that your dermatologist will discuss with you:

  • Simple surgical excision where the dermatologist will cut out the tumor
  • Mohs micrographic surgery
  • Electrodessication and curettage which involves scraping or cutting the tumor and burning the base with an electric needle
  • Cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the area out
  • Radiation therapy
  • Laser surgery
  • Topical therapy involves using cancer-fighting medication that can be applied at home
  • Photodynamic therapy where the medication that is applied is activated by light

Prevention

Take extra care by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing. Stay in the shade and be cautious near water, snow and sand that reflect the sun. Avoid tanning beds and instead, get vitamin D through supplements and healthy food. Remember to check your skin monthly.

Bullous Disease

This is a group of diseases that involve fluid-filled blisters that form on the skin and in mucous membranes (which is tissue lining the mouth, nose, eyes, throat, esophagus, anus and genitals). Itchiness and burning precede blisters that last awhile. These eventually break, causing the blisters to be raw and sore. If they occur in the nose, nosebleeds usually occur. It is now a disease that people can live with, which did not use to be the case.

Types of Bullous disease



  • Pemphigus:
    • Pemphigus vulgaris starts with blisters in the mouth. At a severe stage, even a slight rubbing against skin can remove patches of it. This can be life threatening.
    • Pemphigus vegetans is rare; here, blisters break and leave sores. These blisters only form where skin touches skin (armpits and groin, for example).
    • Pemphigus foliaceus starts on the face and scalp and can clear itself.
    • Paraneoplastic pemphigus is very rare and occurs in people who have a tumor that is either cancerous or benign. It usually manifests as a severe inflammation in the mouth.
  • Pemphigoid:
    • Bullous pemphigoid usually occurs in the elderly. They can experience blisters or just raw patches of skin.
    • Mucous membrane pemphigoid only occurs in mucous membranes.
  • Linear IgA bullous disease looks like a string of pearls and is extremely itchy.
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis itches intensely and often makes people sensitive to gluten.
  • Acquired epidermolysis bullosa shows on the hands, knees, elbows and ankles. This can be extremely painful, even disfiguring hands and nails.

Causes

Though not contagious, this disease means the immune system attacks its own skin and mucous membranes.

Treatment

Without treatment, bullous disease can be fatal and can increase the risk of certain cancers. The earlier it is diagnosed, the better. Your dermatologist will review your medical history, examine the affected skin and likely conduct lab tests with a sample of the blister to diagnose which kind of bullous disease it is. Treatment options can include oral corticosteroids and antibiotics.

Dry Skin and Keratosis Pilaris

These conditions are very common – approximately 40% of the population experiences dry skin. Often, it is an inherited skin problem that can lead to eczema or dermatitis.

Keratosis pilaris appears as tiny flesh-colored or slightly red bumps and feels like sandpaper. It is very common in children and teenagers and can be treated with moisturizers or topical retinoids. Dermatologists may also prescribe corticosteroids and immune modulators.

Tips for managing dry skin include:

  • Shaving
  • Avoiding hot water
  • Using mild soap
  • Moisturizing right after baths and showers
  • Using a humidifier
  • Appling cool cloths to itchy, dry skin
  • Soothing chapped lips
  • Covering up with scarves and gloves in cold weather
  • Cleansing the face once per day

Hives

Hives appear as pink welts that itch, burn and sting. Usually from an allergic reaction, they appear a couple of hours after swallowing certain foods and medications or applying certain chemicals. They can also be caused by an infection. Hives typically last a few hours and can sometimes last a few days. They can also recur. Severe cases can lead to difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Common foods that cause hives in children include milk, eggs and peanuts. Adults are commonly affected by nuts, shellfish and eggs. Strawberries, food additives and preservatives can trigger non-allergic hives.

Types of Hives

Chronic hives last more than six weeks; the cause is often difficult to identify. Your dermatologist will review your medical history and do blood work or a biopsy if necessary. Physical urticaria is caused by sunlight, heat, cold, water, pressure, vibration and exercise. Dermatographic urticaria is caused by stroking or scratching the skin.

Treatment

Primary treatment is to eliminate the cause of the hives once it is determined. Sometimes anti-inflammatories or immune-suppressants will be prescribed; even an injection of epinephrine will be administered in very severe cases.

Malignant Melanoma

Malignant melanoma is a form of skin cancer that is caused by UV rays. While it can affect all genders and races, fair-skinned people are at higher risk, as are those who have had many sunburns or have used tanning beds. Other factors include light hair and eyes, many moles that may be unusual in appearance, having a family history of melanoma, a weakened immune system or being over 50 years old.

Diagnosis

Your dermatologist will conduct a skin exam, and then if necessary, a biopsy to send a sample to the lab for analysis. If the results confirm melanoma, then a number of further tests will be administered, like x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs, and PETs. The specialist will also determine whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

Treatment

The dermatologist will likely remove the melanoma through surgery. If the cancer has spread beyond the skin, the treatment plan may include radiation, chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Those diagnosed with melanoma are at a higher risk of having it recur.

Prevention

Be aware of the ABCDEs of melanoma and monitor the moles on your body: asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolving.

Take extra care by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing. Stay in the shade and be cautious near water, snow and sand that reflect the sun. Avoid tanning beds and instead, get vitamin D through supplements and healthy food. Remember to check your skin monthly.

Moles

There are different types of moles:

  • Congenital moles are those you are born with. Those with moles that are larger than 20 centimeters are at a higher risk of developing melanoma.
  • Atypical moles are larger than usual and irregular in shape. They can be a mix of tan, brown, red or pink.
  • Acquired moles are those you develop after birth. People who acquire 50 to 100 moles have a greater risk of developing melanoma.

Treatment

Moles can be removed when they are a nuisance, if they are unattractive or if they are suspected to be cancerous. Dermatologists can remove moles through surgical excision and shave them away with a surgical blade. If the mole reappears, be sure to return to your dermatologist to have it checked.

Prevention

Be aware of the ABCDEs of melanoma and monitor the moles on your body: asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolving.

Take extra care by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing. Stay in the shade and be cautious near water, snow and sand that reflect the sun. Avoid tanning beds and instead, get vitamin D through supplements and healthy food. Remember to check your skin monthly.

Molluscum Contagiosum

This condition is a common virus that can be spread between people, though usually harmless. Molluscum contagiosum are growths that appear one week to several months after initial contact with the virus. These growths are small, shiny, round, indented in the center, smooth and firm. They can be white, pink or flesh-colored and can appear in rows or groups.

The growths spread from skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the condition, or by touching an object that was previously touched by someone with it. You can also spread it to other parts of your body. Avoid picking at the growths and instead, keep them clean and covered.

Molluscum contagiosum is more common in children, those with weakened immune systems, those who have eczema, who live in tropical areas, play close-contact sports or have sexual contact with people who have the condition.

Treatment

Options include freezing with liquid nitrogen, using topical medicines, electrocautery and/or curettage, as well as laser therapy.

Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

The first time you are exposed to poison ivy, oak or sumac, the rash may not appear until 12 to 21 days later. The rash or blisters will be extremely itchy, and may even contain clear fluid or blood.

If these plants catch on fire, you may get swollen eyelids from exposure to the smoke. You may also experience black marks on the skin from dried oil that comes from the plants, as well as swelling and redness.

Treatment

  • Douse the skin in lukewarm water, which is most effective within 15 minutes of coming in contact with the plant oil.
  • Rinse your skin before using soap, otherwise the soap will spread the oil around.
  • Wash all the clothing you were wearing and all the objects you touched when you came in contact with the plants because the oil could have stuck to them.
  • Take cool showers and use calamine lotion, colloidal baths, oral antihistamines or hydrocortisone cream to help soothe the rash.

Seek emergency care if the rash spreads all over the body. In this case, you may need steroid ointment or prednisone as treatment.

Psoriasis & Psoriasis Arthritis

Psoriasis is caused by skin cells that grow too quickly and are not shed, so they pile up on the surface of the skin. It is not contagious and is likely inherited through genetics. Triggers of this condition include stress, strep throat, winter weather, scratches, bad sunburns, and some medications.

Types of Psoriasis

Your dermatologist will examine the skin, nails and scalp, and may also perform a biopsy to determine which type:

  • Plaque psoriasis is common where reddish skin appears and is covered by a silvery white scale. It usually occurs on elbows, knees and the lower back.
  • Scalp psoriasis is similar, but occurs on the scalp. It is very itchy and can be misdiagnosed as dandruff.
  • Nail psoriasis is likely when tiny pits occur on the nails. If this worsens, the nails can become loose, thicken and crumble. This can be misdiagnosed as a nail infection.
  • Guttate psoriasis usually affects children and young adults. It appears as small, red spots and usually happens after a sore throat. It can clear up on its own and never return, but if guttate psoriasis is experienced on top of plaque psoriasis, it often means that the condition is worsening.
  • Pustular psoriasis is common on the palms and soles of the feet. It looks like white pus-filled bumps surrounded by red skin, and can be very serious if spread all over the body.
  • Inverse psoriasis appears as smooth, red patches in folds of the skin (i.e., armpit, under breasts, in buttocks crease, in genital area). It can be very painful.
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis is rare. It appears as severe redness and shedding over large sections of skin, often looking like a burn. Severely itchy and painful, it can be life threatening.

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that can develop in some people with psoriasis. If joints are swollen, stiff and painful when waking up, tell a dermatologist right away. It is often a lifelong condition and the affected joints can deteriorate.

Treatment

There is no cure for psoriasis, but it can be treated with light therapy and medication. Topical medicine options include corticosteroids, anthralin for thick patches, calcipotriene and calcipotriol (vitamin D3 preparations), retinoids or coal tar. Light therapy options include laser therapy, UVB light, PUVA, Goeckerman therapy or ingram regimen. Systemic medicine will include methotrexate, retinoids and cyclosporine. Biologics are another option recently available. A patient can sometimes perform these injections or infusions at home.

Rosacea

Signs of rosacea include redness (may look like acne), oily skin that is easily irritated, soreness, thin purplish veins, and/or bloodshot eyes that may feel dry and itchy. Skin can grow very thick in affected areas, especially in men. If the nose is affected, it often appears enlarged and forms bumps.

Rosacea is more common in those 30 to 50 years of age, fair-skinned, blond-haired, blue-eyed and of Celtic or Scandinavian ancestry. Women who are going through menopause are also at higher risk.

Treatment

Treatment options can include topical medicines, oral antibiotics, cortisone cream and laser surgery. The dermatologist may also remove excess skin with a scalpel, via laser or electrosurgery. Eyes must be treated if they are affected.

Prevention

Triggers include sun exposure, spicy foods, hot drinks, caffeine, alcohol, heat, wind and cold. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the skin, as well as cosmetics or hairspray that may come in contact with the face.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

This common condition appears as a red and itchy rash. It usually occurs on the scalp, sides of the nose, on eyebrows, ears, eyelids and middle of the chest. It can also occur on the navel, buttocks, underarms, breasts and groin. It can often be mistaken as dandruff.

Infants and older adults are more susceptible. In infants, it usually appears on the scalp and often clears itself .If it continues after infancy, it will likely be a lifelong recurrence. Seborrheic dermatitis is more common in those who have family members with a history of the condition. It is also more common in men, those with oily skin and hair or those who have acne or psoriasis, as well as those who have Parkinson's, HIV/AIDS, alcoholism or eating disorders. Living in northern climates or experiencing stress are also triggers.

Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by a yeast-like organism and excess oil. A sensitive immune system is also a factor. Dermatologists will examine the skin to diagnose the rash.

Treatment

Treating this condition is simple, but it is a chronic disease without a cure. For infants, try using a gentle or mild shampoo, low-dose corticosteroid cream or anti-fungal medicine. Adults may be given medicated shampoo or prescribed a stronger corticosteroid. There is, more recently, a non-steroidal option.

Skin Cancer

Anyone can develop skin cancer. Risk factors that may make certain people more susceptible are fair skin, having had sunburns, a family history of skin cancer, exposure to x-rays, weakened immune system, scarring from a disease or burn, use of indoor tanning beds, as well as exposure to cancer-causing compounds like arsenic.

Those who have many moles or several atypical moles are also at a higher risk. Having had melanoma also increases chances of having other melanomas. You may need to see your dermatologist regularly (once per year or more).

There are different types of skin cancer:

  • Actinic Keratosis appears as dry, scaly spots in the earliest stage of skin cancer. Those at higher risk usually have fair skin or are over 40 years of age. Sunscreen can help prevent AK.
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common form. It appears as a flesh-colored bump or pinkish patch of skin. It is caused by a lot of sun exposure on the head, neck, arms, trunk or lower limbs. It can occur in those with fair or dark skin. It does not grow or spread quickly, but can invade surrounding tissue, causing disfigurement.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common form. It appears as a firm bump, scaly patch of skin or looks like a recurring ulcer. Causing factors including sun exposure on the ears, face, neck, arms and trunk. It can also occur in those with light or dark skin and those who have scarring. This form also causes disfigurement as it progresses, so early treatment is very helpful.
  • Melanoma appears in mole form and is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Prevention

Be aware of the ABCDEs of melanoma and monitor the moles on your body: asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolving.

If you are suspected to have skin cancer, the dermatologist will do a biopsy to confirm. If it is skin cancer, then steps will be taken to remove it.

Steps for self-examination

  • Check your front and back in the mirror, then raise arms and check right and left sides.
  • Bend elbows and look at forearms, back of upper arms and palms.
  • Check the backs of legs, feet, between toes and soles.
  • With a hand mirror, check the back of neck. Part and lift hair to check the scalp.
  • Again, with the hand mirror, check the remainder of your back and buttocks.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This is the second most common form of skin cancer. Those at greater risk include people with fair skin, blond or red hair, blue or green eyes, have a family history of skin cancer, have used indoor tanning beds, been diagnosed with actinic keratosis, have a weakened immune system or received radiation therapy. Having been exposed to coal tar or arsenic is also a risk factor.

It appears as a red, crusty, patch of skin or non-healing ulcer. It usually occurs on the head, neck, ears, trunk and arms. It can be curable if detected early, but can also cause disfigurement if allowed to progress, especially on the lips and ears. The cancer can also spread to lymph nodes or internal organs. A dermatologist will perform a biopsy to confirm whether it is squamous cell carcinoma.

Treatment

Options include removing the patch by simple surgical excision, Mohs micrographic surgery, electrodesiccation and curettage, cryosurgery, radiation therapy and topical therapy.

Prevention

Take extra care by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing. Stay in the shade and be cautious near water, snow and sand that reflect the sun. Avoid tanning beds and instead, get vitamin D through supplements and healthy food. Remember to check your skin monthly.

Vitiligo

Vitiligo causes skin to lose its color. It is common on the hands, forearms, feet and face. People who have this condition may lose skin color in some areas or all over the body. It can affect anyone, but is more noticeable on those with darker skin. Having blood relatives who also have vitiligo will increase the chances of having it. Having vitiligo increases the risk of developing autoimmune disorders like thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

Vitiligo happens when dying cells (called melanocytes) are destroyed by the individual's own immune system. There is research being done to determine whether phenols and stress are triggers.

Your dermatologist will examine the skin to diagnose the condition and may also use Wood's lamp to shine UV light on the skin to confirm.

Types

Generalized – This is the most common and appears on hands, fingertips, wrists, around eyes and mouth as well as feet.
Segmental – This type begins at an early age and is usually confined to one segment (even just a segment of hair or eyebrow) or side of the body.
Trichrome – This type appears in three shades (brown, tan and white).

Treatment

Options are available, although sometimes the color returns on its own. Light therapy and other medications help create a uniform skin tone either by restoring color or eliminating color from what remains:

  • Narrow Band Ultraviolet B is used to repigment the skin. This option involves two to three sessions every week for several months. It is an expensive option with best results on the face.
  • PUVA uses UVA light, combined with a medication called psoralen; it can also help repigment the skin. It is either applied to the skin or taken as a pill; treatments are usually twice weekly for a year.
  • Creams and ointments such as corticosteroids, tacrolimus, and calcipotriol can be used to treat small areas. These can also be combined with other treatments.
  • Depigmentation is a permanent solution for individuals with extensive vitiligo where the dermatologist will remove color from the remaining skin using monobenzone chemical.
  • In surgery, unaffected skin is transferred to where it is affected (also known as skin grafting). This is usually an option for those who have segmental vitiligo and is only available in certain parts of the U.S.

Otherwise, those affected can camouflage the condition using makeup or self- tanner with dihydroxyacetone (though these can interfere with treatments). Avoid tanning in case of sunburn. Dye and homemade stain (rubbing alcohol with liquid food color) are also safe options. Be aware that not all of these treatment options are safe for children.

Warts

Warts are non-cancerous skin growths that are caused by HPV, a viral infection. They are usually skin-colored and rough, but can also be dark, flat and smooth. Warts are more common in people whose skin is damaged.

Types

  • Common warts usually appear on fingers, around nails and on the backs of hands. They are common on skin that has been broken. These are also known as seed warts, as black dots can appear.
  • Plantar warts are those that appear on soles of feet. If they appear on the palms, they are called palmar warts. These warts can also have the black dots, though these warts do not usually stick up above the surface of the skin.
  • Flat warts are smaller, but grow in large groups. They are most common on the face, in men's bearded area or on women's legs from shaving.
  • Genital warts are flesh-colored and occur in the genital area and are usually sexually transmitted. A mother who has HPV can spread it to her baby during vaginal birth as well.

Treatment

Treatment options include:

  • Salicylic acid gels or plasters should cause little discomfort, but take longer to achieve results. If the wart becomes sore, this treatment should be stopped.
  • Cantharidin is applied to cause a blister to form under the wart so that the doctor can clip it away.
  • Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the area, also causing a blister to form. Repeated every one to three weeks, this can be very painful, and you may see scarring.
  • Electrosurgery burns the wart immediately, but takes time to heal. Laser treatment is another option, as is surgery to cut out the wart.
  • Imiquimod, a cream that can be applied at home, causes an inflammatory response and is effective for genital warts.
  • Bleomycin is injected into stubborn warts. This anti-cancer drug can have side effects.
  • Interferon is also an injection and boosts the immune system to reject the wart. The side effects of this treatment appear as flulike symptoms.
  • Immunotherapy involves making the body allergic to a certain chemical that is then applied to the wart.

There are other special treatments that you can discuss with your dermatologist for different types of warts. Even if you do not think it is a wart, you should check with your dermatologist to rule out more serious growths. Children's warts will often clear on their own.

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