Preventing Molluscum Contagiosum

(HealthNewsDigest.com) – Roslyn Heights, NY, October 15, 2014 – Summer can be rough on skin, says Joshua Fox, MD, medical director of Advanced Dermatology P.C. Beyond the dangers associated with sunburn, a recent report in JAMA Dermatology found bikini waxes and shaving can increase the risk of contracting a contagious and unsightly skin rash known as molluscum contagiosum. In warm months, 61 percent of women remove hair from the bikini line at least once per week.

“Healthy skin acts as a barrier against infection,” explains Dr. Fox. “While waxing and shaving with a razor blade are normally considered safe procedures to remove body hair, they can cause deficits to the membrane barrier of the skin, allowing viruses or bacteria to enter the body more easily.” Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection that causes small, fleshy-colored, raised bumps, often with a whitish center, to appear. It is spread through skin-to-skin contact or by touching a wet surface contaminated with the virus.

“It is one of the most common skin conditions we see in the summer,” Dr. Fox says. “Molluscum is a virus that loves warm, wet places and is spread easily.” He adds, “Until recently, molluscum was seen primarily in young children at swimming pools, where it earned the nickname ‘water warts,’ but it is on the rise among adult populations. Adults can also contract the virus through sexual contact.”

Molluscum is found worldwide, affecting 2 to 10 percent of children annually. It is common for the virus to spread among family members, with 35 percent of children having a positive family contact.

Tips to avoid molluscum contagiosum

According to Dr. Fox, good hygiene is the best way to avoid getting molluscum. Never pick or scratch bumps or rashes on the skin. In addition,

  • Wash hands frequently
  • Never share towels
  • Avoid swimming, skin-to-skin, or sexual contact immediately after waxing or shaving to allow skin to heal
  • If waxing, use new or sterile equipment and do not re-use wax applicators during the treatment
  • Avoid sharing boogie boards, surf boards, and kick boards
  • Clean or sanitize swim and athletic equipment before and after use
  • Bathe thoroughly before and after swimming or other sports

Signs, symptoms and treatment

The rash usually appears on the torso, buttocks, lower belly, or thighs about 7 weeks after exposure to the virus. In adults, the rash can also appear on the genitals and armpits.

Sometimes individual molluscum disappear in about 2-3 months, however, new growths tend to appear as old ones are going away. If not properly treated, advises Dr. Fox, “molluscum can spread and the virus can take years to resolve on its own. There are steps you and your doctor can take to stop it from spreading or causing discomfort or anxiety.”

  • Keep areas with growths clean
  • Cover with clean clothing or watertight bandages before participating in sports or contact with others
  • Do not pick at lesions with fingernails
  • Do not shave or do electrolysis over areas that have bumps
  • Dress in loose cotton clothing to reduce irritation
  • Moisturize dry skin with hypoallergenic moisturizers

Dermatologists use treatments to help the growths disappear more quickly, such as:

  • Removal by freezing (cryotherapy) or scraping off with a sharp instrument (curettage).
  • Applying a topical agent or cream to dissolve the growth such as blister beetle juice with Cantharidin, potassium hydricide, retinoic acid or Aldera.

Treatment works best when started early. Your doctor will discuss the advantages and disadvantages, (e.g. risk of bleeding), of treatment for you or your child. “Pools, sports and your normal beauty routines can sometimes leave you with more than you bargained for,” cautions Dr. Fox. “Failure to treat can lead to further infection and scarring. There is no point in suffering in silence when treatment is so readily available.”

Advanced Dermatology P.C., the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) provides cutting edge medical, laser & cosmetic dermatology and plastic surgery services. www.advanceddermatologypc.com

Joshua L. Fox, M.D., F.A.A.D., is the founder and medical director at Advanced Dermatology P.C. He is a leading authority in the field of dermatology with expertise in skin cancer, cosmetic surgery and laser procedures and is program director of a fellowship in laser and cosmetic surgery.

NY Dermatologist Joshua Fox Supports Call to Protect Baby’s Skin from the Sun

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NY Dermatologist Joshua Fox Supports Call to Protect Baby’s Skin from the Sun

Tips to keeping your baby’s skin safe this summer and for a lifetime.

Roslyn, NY (PRWEB) March 26, 2013

There is nothing to compare to a warm spring day to shake off the seclusion of winter and beckon families to outdoor fun. But according to N.Y. dermatologist Joshua Fox with Advanced Dermatology PC, “parents need to be particularly cautious to protect their babies’ delicate skin from the sun while doing so.” The skin may be more prone to sun damage and early genetic damage. Dr. Fox advises that parents follow the guidelines of the American Academy of Dermatology and take every effort to keep babies age 0-6 months out of the sun altogether if possible.

“Babies’ skin is thinner than adults and therefore absorbs the UV rays even more rapidly than adults’ skin,” Dr. Fox explains. “In addition, human skin develops melanin, the pigment which gives color to skin, over time. Babies have less melanin than adults and this is another reason they have less protection from the sun.”

Professional Organizations Agree on Need to Protect Babies’ Skin.

There is agreement between the numerous professional organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control, US Environmental Protection Agency and National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, as well as the American Cancer Society, Skin Cancer Foundation and the New Age Skin Research Foundation, all of which promote public awareness about comprehensive sun protection.

Dr. Fox shares these tips to protect babies’ skin from the sun.

Infants 0-6 months:

 

    • Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of the sun altogether when possible.

 

    • Use removable mesh window shields in the car, or UV window film to block ultraviolet radiation from entering the car.

 

    • Walk with your baby before 10 am or after 4 pm. A sun protective cover on the stroller will help block the damaging sun rays from baby even further.

 

    • Dress baby in clothing that is lightweight, but covers the legs and arms.

 

  • Select a wide-brimmed hat to protect the baby’s face, ears, and neck. “If you put a hat on your baby in the first few months of life, she will get used to wearing it,” Dr. Fox offers.

Babies 6-12 months:

    • It is safe to use sunscreen. It is important to continue all the above precautions as well Dr. Fox advises.

 

    • Dr Fox reinforces the need for a minimum of a broad-spectrum, SPF +15 sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection.

 

  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and then reapply every two hours or after swimming or excess sweating. Apply to any areas left uncovered by clothing.

The first sunscreens were alcoholic solutions which offered modest protection against the sun and washed off easily. “We’ve come a long way with sunscreen protection since the 60s,” Dr. Fox explains. We advise our patients to use of a good sunscreen with SPF of higher than 15 on their babies at 6 months when going outside and hope that it will become second nature to regularly apply sunscreen.

UV Rays

Ultra Violet Rays (UVR) are composed of UVA rays, UVB rays, and UVC rays. The upper atmosphere filters out the UVC rays, but UVA and UVB rays penetrate the atmosphere and are the rays that can damage human skin. Intense and intermittent exposure to UVR and sunburn during childhood and infancy are linked to increased risks of melanoma.

“There is more research needed to understand the effects of sun on babies’ skin, as most research has been done on adults. But the important guidelines for protecting babies’ skin are sure ways to reduce the risks and protect babies’ skin for a full and healthy lifetime.”

What’s That on My Baby’s Skin?

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We all want baby-soft, clear skin, but even babies often aren’t that lucky, says Joshua Fox, MD, Long Island dermatologist and founder of Advanced Dermatology and The Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery. “Skin conditions are common in newborns, whose skin can be very sensitive.” The most common skin ailments, according to Dr. Fox are diaper rash, cradle cap, flaky skin and infant acne.

“These conditions aren’t serious and typically go away on their own, but they can be uncomfortable for babies – and for worried parents,” says Dr. Fox. “I always advise parents to talk to a doctor if a skin condition persists for several days without improving, or if it worsens.”

Diaper Rash
Wet, soiled diapers that rub against delicate baby skin and misuse or overuse of baby creams, lotions, oils, and powders are the culprits behind diaper rash, a red, inflamed rash that affects most babies at least once during their infancy. It can also be a recurrent problem for newborns and can become so severe that open, blistering sores develop on babies’ thighs, abdomens, and buttocks. Wet nappies, as the British call them, create a humid, moist environment that makes babies’ bottoms susceptible to irritation and inflammation.

The solution: “Change diapers frequently,” says Dr. Fox, “and gently cleanse – don’t rub – the baby’s buttocks with a warm, wet washcloth. Then apply a protective cream that contains zinc oxide to provide a barrier against urine and feces.” (Zinc oxide creams are available without a prescription.) Avoid premoistened baby wipes and products that contain fragrances or alcohol, which may actually make diaper rash worse rather than better because they may irritate a baby’s delicate skin. Also, after washing the baby’s bottom, allow the buttocks to air dry for a few minutes before putting on a new diaper.

Cradle Cap
Cradle cap (or “seborrheic dermatitis,” as it is known medically) is a condition that causes a red, scaly, itchy rash on the scalp. It’s not totally clear what causes cradle cap, but a yeast-like or fungal organism may be involved. It usually clears by itself by 8 to 12 months of age, says Dr. Fox.

Mild cases can be treated with a baby shampoo. “Gently shampoo the scalp to remove some of the scales,” he advises. “You can also use a soft brush while shampooing or after putting some mineral oil on the scalp to lift the scales.” Do not rub hard as you may exacerbate the problem.

If the condition is widespread or severe, parents should ask their pediatrician or a dermatologist to recommend an antiseborrheic shampoo, as well as corticosteroid, sulfer, and sulfacetamide and/or antifungal products depending on how the rash looks.

Flaky Skin/Eczema
Like adults, some babies may suffer from dry, flakey skin, particularly in the folds of the skin, like behind the knees and elbows. “This condition is usually temporary and will go away on its own,” notes Dr. Fox, particularly if it’s due to dry, cold weather.

To make your baby more comfortable, apply an unscented baby moisturizer to the affected area. Don’t bathe your child daily, and when you do, make baths short (and sweet!). Also, try to utilize less soap, body wash or cleansers as they are irritating and exacerbate the problem. If it does not resolve see a dermatologist.

Infant Acne
In the first few weeks after delivery, many babies, particularly boys, will develop red pimples and whiteheads on the cheeks and nose due to the high levels of male hormones (called androgens) circulating in their bodies. These hormones prompt oil production to the baby’s immature oil glands, leading to the growth of bacteria and the development of acne.

“As the weeks pass, androgen levels decline and infant acne usually goes away,” Dr. Fox explains. “If acne persists or is severe, a doctor can prescribe standard anti-acne drugs for babies, including benzoyl peroxide and possibly even topical or oral antibiotics.”

LASERS TO THE RESCUE FOR PORT-WINE STAINS

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In those precious moments of first bonding as a new mother cradles her infant, she instinctively examines for imperfections. Sadly, she sometimes finds them. Birthmarks are common – and particularly familiar is the port-wine stain. (more…)