Skin molluscum, technically known as molluscum contagiosum, is a contagious skin disorder caused by a virus in the pox family. The word “pox” may bring to mind terrifying conditions like smallpox but in actuality, the skin molluscum virus is more like the virus that causes warts. You won’t die from molluscum contagiosum or even become seriously ill, but the condition can significantly affect your appearance, especially when it appears on the face. Some people experience a great deal of itching along with the characteristic bumps, as well.
Symptoms of Molluscum Contagiosum
Common symptoms of the condition include:
- Small bumps on the face, neck, torso, arms, legs and/or buttocks, tan or pink in color.
- Small dilated blood vessels in the area may cause the bumps to appear flushed or reddened.
- Dry, flaky skin around the area of the rash.
- Itching, may be minor or may be severe.
- The rash can appear anywhere on the body but is most often found on the trunk, arms and legs, face and neck.
Note that the molluscum bumps often resemble warts and in fact the two conditions are often confused. However, warts are often darker in color and have rough surfaces rather than smooth. Warts are also common on hands and feet; molluscum is rarely seen there. To learn more about warts, and see pictures of warts, just follow this link to our
Diagnosing Molluscum Contagiosum
Physicians usually diagnose skin molluscum simply by examining the affected areas. However, if there is a question about the diagnosis, they can do a scraping of the skin and examine the tissue under a microscope. In rare cases, doctors recommend a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment of Molluscum Contagiosum
People sometimes attempt to treat skin molluscum at home with over-the-counter wart treatments. These treatments are sometimes effective but can be difficult to apply to molluscum since it often manifests in such a large number of bumps. Whereas these products are designed to use on one or two warts at a time, people with molluscum may be dealing with more than 30 bumps, all of which must be treated in order for treatment to be effective.
Treatment of molluscum is further complicated by the fact that the condition is so contagious. Not only do you risk spreading the condition to other people with whom you have contact, you can actually spread it to other parts of your own body, and it’s very easy to do so. Scratching the bumps if they itch is an easy way to spread the condition. Shaving is also a way men frequently spread the condition to other areas of the face.
Scars on a childs leg one year after cryotherapy to remove molluscum.
Physicians tend to treat molluscum with the same techniques they use against warts, and while these techniques are usually effective, they can have significant side effects. For instance, cryotherapy, or freezing off the bumps with liquid nitrogen, can cause pain, scarring, infection and loss of sensation in the treated area. People that seek treatment due to noticeable skin molluscum on their faces do not want to trade those bumps for scars.
We suggest natural treatments like
which is highly effective. This ointment is applied directly to the affected area of the skin, and is quick acting. Naturasil also has an immune system booster called Immune Renew, which is designed to boost your immune system so that it can fight the molluscum contagiosum virus. Boosting your immune system is especially important because your own immune system really is your best defense against all kinds of viruses. A strong immune system can generally protect itself from molluscum, which is why the condition is seen infrequently in healthy adults. Just follow this link to the
for more information about our recommended treatment.
Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment - Comparison of treatment options including cryotherapy, electrocautery, chemotherapy cream and natural remedies.
What is Molluscum and How Does It Spread? - Additional information on the molluscum virus, how it spreads, symptoms, etc.
Molluscum Contagiosum Photos - Pictures of molluscum, conditions that look similar, comparison photos to warts.
More than Skin Molluscum on our Healthy Skin Guide Home Page