Molluscum contagiosum is a benign growth of the epidermal layer of the skin secondary to viral infection. Pox virus is responsible for the infection. This virus leads to skin papules that grow to around 2-5 mm in diameter (sometimes may grow as big as 2 cm) and may be found as a single lesion or in clusters of 1-20 mollusca. These papules are dome shaped, shiny, skin colored, fluid filled along with central umbilication. Usually, they are painless growths, but are pruritic and may tempt the patient to scratch/rub/itch leading to spillage of the content (this is highly virulent) and thus autoinoculation to other parts of the body.
The virus spreads from direct skin-to-skin contact or through fomites in cases of children. Examples include physical contact, sexual contact, bath towels, sponges, swimming kick boards, infected clothes. It is common in children of 1-10 years age group, wrestlers, gymnasts and masseurs due to direct skin contact or through infected fomites.
Young adults with high-risk sexual behavior also have increased chances of contracting the disease; however, not necessarily adults contract it through sexual intercourse. Generally, the infection is mild; however, it can take a severe course in immunocompromised patients, such as HIV/AIDS, chronic steroid use or transplant patients.
Does Wart Remover Work On Molluscum Contagiosum?
There are various topical treatments for the resolution of molluscum contagiosum and wart remover is touted to be one of them. Wart remover that consists of salicylic acid solution has been found effective in treating and clearing molluscum contagiosum infection faster. One randomized study result showed that 12% salicylic acid was more effective in curing molluscum contagiosum than diluted phenol or letting the host immune cells clear the infection. It helps in rapid clearance of the mollusca growths and has been well tolerated by patients. Since wart remover is the natural treatment for warts, verrucas, which have thicker outer layer and molluscum papules have less thickened layer; its application may blister the normal surrounding layer, so caution should be taken to apply the wart remover over the mollusca.
Other topical creams and lotions that are known to treat molluscum contagiosum include cantharidine, imiquimod cream, tretinoin, potassium hydroxide, podophyllotoxin, lactic acid, benzoyl peroxide, trichloroacetic acid, glycolic acid, dilute povidone iodine, silver nitrate and bichloracetic acid. There have been several home remedies that have known to cure molluscum contagiosum and these include tea tree oil, honey, clover oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, aloe vera, vitamins, garlic, Epsom salt bath, wheat grass spray along with tape stripping.
All the above treatment options can be used for rapid resolution of the infection; however, in some patients in whom the infection is severe or persistent, one or more treatments have to be carried out at the same time.
What Is The Treatment For Molluscum Contagiosum?
The infection due to molluscum contagiosum is self-limiting and resolves within 6-18 months in healthy individuals. However, it is best advised to get it treated to shorten the course of disease, or to prevent its transmission to other healthy individuals, or to maintain the esthetics, or when the disease is severe or persistent. Some individuals may experience complications such as autoinoculation of the infection to other parts of the body, eczema around the mollusca, secondary bacterial infection due to repeated scratching, in addition to discomfort and itching.
Various treatment options are available that aim at destroying the growths with either topical cream, medication, curettage, lasers, cryotherapy, antiviral medications or immune modulation or stimulation. It is interesting to note that there are no FDA approved treatment options for molluscum contagiosum till date. All the above therapies help in curing the virus, but none of them are guaranteed for the resolution of the disease and various combinations of treatments can be used for different patients. It is important to convey this piece of information to patients or parents of kids, so that they keep befitting expectations.
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