What the Yuck?!
1. Is this a wart?
“I recently developed this large painful bump on my thumb that resembles a wart but I’m not sure what it really is. Help!” – Margaret, Hamilton ON.
DLK says: “There are a number of lesions that can occur on the fingers including warts, synovial cysts, and calluses. It is important to note how long they’ve been there, if there is a history or arthritis, trauma, and if there is any change in the lesion. Also, the patient should note if they are painful or if they bleed. Some of these conditions can be treated with topicals (either over-the-counter or prescription) and some require surgery.”
2. My nasty nicks
“Never one to pass on a deal, the other day I was shave shopping and saw a pack of no-name razors for less than what I would pay for a Starbucks coffee. I thought, What the heck, they can’t be that different from my normal, expensive brand-name jobbies. So I bought them and tried them, and now it’s What the Yuck?! On top of the few gashes I have on my normally smooth cranium, I have red, painful and irritated areas on my scalp and face. Is there anything I can do to make me skin happy again?” – Timonthy, London ON.
DLK says: “At this point in time, a topical antibiotic (e.g. Polysporin) applied with cotton swap three times a day will help to heal the scabs. Going forward, stop using cheap razors. Secondly, improve your technique – use lots of soap or shaving preparation (it doesn’t really matter), and shave in the direction of hair growth. This is key. Going against the grain can increase infection and nicks. After shaving rinse your head with a topical anti-bacterial wash.”
3. I Googled my disease!
“For the past few months my skin has been breaking out in hives during the night. The hives usually appear on my hands and feet, but sometimes they pop up on other areas of my body too. It subsides during the day but always flares up again past midnight. I have a tube of Benadryl cream on my bedside table which helps relieve the itch but I want to get to the bottom of it. Last weekend I got fed up and Googled ‘night hives’ and a condition called chronic urticaria popped up. One of the causes was lupus. So now I’m paranoid that I might have lupus. Can you help?” – Anonymous, Toronto ON.
DLK says: “The worse thing anyone can do is self diagnose on the internet. Now this eruption could be a number of things. The best thing is to keep a log of when this happens and what you have eaten and what you have used on your skin. Then if this continues, you should consult with your dermatologist who can take a proper medical history and examine you. This might involve a biopsy or patch testing to a number of agents to confirm the diagnosis. This could be a case of urticaria or dermatitis but a proper consulation with a derm is the best way to proceed.”