Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a common viral skin infection that is highly contagious. While most cases are found in children, adults, too, can develop the firm, round bumps on their skin.

The bumps can be itchy and, if scratched and broken, become extremely contagious, spreading to surrounding skin and other people. While the condition is relatively harmless in children, it can appear on or near the eyes and develop into conjunctivitis, or pink eye.

In adults, molluscum contagiosum can be present around the genetals, is contagious and considered a sexually transmitted disease.

Without treatment, the bumps can last for up to 5 year and will remain contagious while present.

Symptoms of Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is characterized by the spread of small, firm bumps on the skin. They are tan, or flesh colored, and raised above the skin. The bumps usually have a small dot at the top, or umbilication, and can become red, inflamed and itchy.

In children, Molluscum Contagiosum usually appears on the face, neck, arms, hands and armpits.

In adults, Mollescum Contagiosum may appear on the face, neck, arms, hands, and armpits, or, if sexually transmitted, on the genitals, thighs and abdomen.

How does Molluscum Contagiosum Spread?

Molluscum contagiosum is spread to other areas of the skin by rubbing and scratching the infected skin. It is also spread from person to person through the following:

Direct contact with the infected area

Contact with infected objects like towels, door knobs, handles, toys, etc.

In adults, through sexual contact

Treatment of Molluscum Contagiosum

While treatment is not required, it can help the appearance and symptoms related to molluscum contagiosum and prevent the spread of the contagion.

A medically-trained professional may recommend that the lesions be removed so that they do not spread. Treatment options include the following: 

Irritating products like salicylic acid to dissolve the lesion.

Topical creams containing retinoids can help the lesions heal quickly.

Freezing, or cryotherapy, can be used to kill the active cells that allow the contagion to spread.

Laser therapy can be used to target each bump individually and help stimulate recovery, but does not kill the contagion and cannot prevent it from spreading.

Scraping can be used to remove the bumps from the skin.

Treatment can stimulate molluscum contagiosum to clear from the body’s system faster. While not necessary, treatment can shorten the duration of the viral infection significantly and lessen irritating symptoms like itching.

For help with molluscum contagiosum, call the Skin & Cancer Center of Scottsdale today at (480) 596-1110 and schedule a consultation.

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