Molluscum (Molluscum Contagiosum)

Molluscum contagiosum is a very common viral skin infection which particularly affects children. It causes localised clusters of epidermal bumps on the skin called mollusca. The skin condition is relatively harmless but the papules may persist for up to 2 years or longer.

Molluscum contagiosum is spread from person to person by direct contact

The condition is more common in children who also have atopic eczema or a poor immune system

Symptoms are small flesh coloured bumps that appear on the skin particularly around body folds

The Dermatologist may recommend no treatment, or deroof using a sterile needle, or prescribe a topical cream

What causes Molluscum (Molluscum Contagiosum)

Molluscum contagiosum is spread from person to person by direct contact particularly in damp environments such as swimming pools. It mainly affects children under the age of 10 years and is more common in warmer and overcrowded environments. The skin infection tends to be more common and lasts longer in children who also have atopic eczema or those with a poor immune function. There are several ways in which the condition can spread including direct skin-to skin contact and indirect contact such as sharing towels.

What are the symptoms of Molluscum (Molluscum Contagiosum)

The signs and symptoms of Molluscum contagiosum are usually small flesh coloured bumps that appear on the skin particularly around body folds such as the neck or around the groins in warm, moist places.

The small papules can also occur particularly in areas of eczema where scratching of the skin can also spread them around. Sometimes the molluscum spots can become a bit redder and inflamed but this is usually a sign that the body’s immune system is recognizing the virus is foreign and starting to clear it so it is usually a good sign that things are on the way out. Mollusca frequently induce dermatitis around them and become inflamed and scab over as the papules resolve. There are various methods of Molluscum treatment that a Dermatologist can advise you on.

Images of Molluscum (Molluscum Contagiosum)

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How does a Dermatologist diagnose Molluscum (Molluscum Contagiosum)?

A Dermatologist will examine the skin with a dermatascope and may take a skin scraping.

How do you treat Molluscum (Molluscum Contagiosum)

Often a Dermatologist won’t offer any treatment for Molluscum contagiosum and that’s because the spots will tend to go away on their own anyway. However, if there are a lot of them or they’re causing a problem some dermatologists might take the roof of the molluscum off to help them clear up quicker. Molluscum can sometimes be frozen however that’s often a painful process for a child to go through so it’s something we would not normally recommend.

There are some creams such as those containing hydrogen peroxide that can help clear the molluscum more quickly. There is also a new preparation which contains potassium hydroxide causing a local irritant reaction in the spots. This helps them to clear up quicker and minimise the visual cosmetic appearance of Molluscum Contagiosum which people tend to find the most distressing. One of our London Dermatologists can advise you on the best Molluscum Contagiosum treatment to reduce the symptoms of your skin condition.

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