Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a common skin conditions caused by a virus that is highly contagious and easily spreads from person to person. Skin to skin contact as well as sharing towels and clothing can spread the virus.

Molluscum contagiosum presents as pink or skin-colored bumps anywhere on the body. Most affected people will get about 10-20 lesions total, while patients with weakened immune systems may get many more lesions.

Bumps will appear on the skin about seven weeks after being exposed to the virus. They typically begin as small, firm growths that are smooth, waxy on the surface, and have a central umbilication. While painless, the bumps may itch.

The skin disease is most commonly seen in children. When children are infected, it often clears on its own, but can take 6 months to several years to do so.

In adults, the bumps often appear on the face, neck, armpits, arms, and hands. Other common places for bumps to appear are the genitals, abdomen, and inner thighs. Adults often get molluscum contagiosum through sexual contact.

Based on the severity of the case there are procedures your dermatologist may recommend:

  • Cryosurgery – freezing the bumps with liquid nitrogen

  • Curettage – scraping the bumps from the skin with a small tool called a curette

  • Laser surgery

  • Topical acids (TCA) and blistering solutions (cantharidin) to destroy the bumps

  • Topical retinoids or antiviral medications