Molluscum contagiosum is a skin condition characterized by a noticeable bump on the skin. It is caused by a virus belonging to the poxvirus family. The bump can appear as singly or in groups. They are usually painless and itchy. They appear on face, trunks, abdomen, and extremities. They are self-limiting lesions on the skin that can go on their own in 6 months to one year. They develop more commonly in children. Molluscum contagiosum can be cured with topical medicines and minor surgeries.
Can Molluscum Contagiosum Be Cured?
Most of the cases of molluscum contagiosum settle on its own. It does not require treatment. It is contagious until the bump starts to fade away. It is a painless condition that may cause itching and tingling. Treatment with medicated solutions can help in the relief of the symptoms. It is necessary to treat the condition when it causes cosmetic issues or affects the quality of life.
Molluscum contagiosum can be cured by following ways-
Medicines– topical application of medicines can treat the condition and relieve itching. These medicines are in form of liquids, gels or creams. The topical medicines that are used for topical application on the bumps are salicylic acid, trichloroacetic acid, cantharidin, potassium hydroxide, tretinoin cream, cantharidin, and imiquimod cream.
Oral medicines are preferred in cases where the patient is immunocompromised like in AIDS, cancer patients. Antiviral medicines such as cidofovir, ritonavir, and zidovudine are prescribed for such cases.
Surgery– surgery is needed in cases where the bump affects the cosmetic appearance of the affected area and where it is stubborn and contagious. It is done by following surgical procedures-
Cryotherapy– it is a surgical procedure in which liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the bump to clear them off. But this procedure can be painful and is not recommended for small children.
Scrapping– it is a surgical procedure in which the bumps are removed mechanically with small surgical tools. This process can also be painful. It may also leave scars on the affected area. However, there is a possibility of returning back of the bumps.
Home Remedies For Molluscum Contagiosum
Home remedies can help to relieve the itchiness and tingling caused by the bump. The following are some of these home remedies-
Tea Tree Oil– it is often combined with iodine to reduce the symptoms of the condition.
Colloidal Oatmeal Bath– finely grounded oatmeal added to warm water to the bath can relieve the irritated and itchy skin.
Coconut Oil– it is prepared from the kernel of mature coconuts and it soothes the irritated skin and helps the skin to retain moisture.
Molluscum contagiosum is a common infection of the skin caused by a virus named molluscum contagiosum. This virus is a member of the poxvirus family. It appears singly or in groups in the form of white papules on the skin. It is most common in children. However, it can appear at any age. It develops in the face, trunk, and extremities in children. In adults, it appears on genitals, abdomen and inner side of thighs. It is a harmless condition. It can spread to other parts of the skin.
Molluscum contagiosum is diagnosed by its characteristic appearance of the lesion. It is confirmed with a skin biopsy, microscopic study of a small piece of skin removed from affected areas. If other health issues are suspected such as HIV or STI, then they should be confirmed with related tests.
Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection marked by an appearance of painless small raised bumps on the skin. It can settle on its own in a few months to one year. However, the body does not develop immunity against this virus and there is always a chance of reinfection. It can also be cured with oral or topical medicines and minor surgeries in severe cases.
- American Academy of Dermatology Association. “Molluscum Contagiosum: Signs and Symptoms.” https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/molluscum-contagiosum-symptoms
- Mayo Clinic. “Molluscum Contagiosum.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/molluscum-contagiosum/symptoms-causes/syc-20375226
- WebMD. “Molluscum Contagiosum.” https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/molluscum-contagiosum
- DermNet New Zealand. “Molluscum Contagiosum.” https://dermnetnz.org/topics/molluscum-contagiosum/
- National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). “Molluscum Contagiosum.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448174/