What is Molluscum Contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum (often referred to as simply molluscum) is a fairly common skin condition caused by a virus. It is, as implied by its name, contagious, and can spread from one person to another. The spread mainly occurs through skin-to-skin contact, as well as via sharing of towels or clothes. It can even spread to different parts of the body on the same person.
The term is pronounced muh-luhs-kum kən-tā-jē-ō-səm.
The main symptoms of this condition are raised pinkish or flesh-colored bumps on the skin. The number of bumps a person gets can vary, but is typically around 10-20. Some people, especially those with a weakened immune system may get significantly more bumps. Often these bumps have a dimpled center, and may sometimes be filled with a cheesy white substance.
Children often get molluscum. Typical locations for these bumps are on the face and neck, as well as in the armpits and arms. Adults can also get this condition. Also, people who live in tropical places have a higher likelihood of getting molluscum, since the virus responsible for it thrives in warmth and humidity. The probability of contracting molluscum is also higher for people who have atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema).
If you think you may have molluscum contagiosum, needless to say, please consult your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. These bumps and warts, chicken pox and even skin cancer, can be confused by laymen. Also, take care not share towels and clothes with others in the meantime, and avoid direct contact as well.
So how do you get rid of molluscum contagiousum? Many people prefer to try home remedies for this issue, before moving on to more traditionally medical approaches. Each person reacts differently to these various options, and you may need some trial and error before finding one that works for you. We have collected information on various alternatives, and you can find more information about each option by clicking on the links where available.
Wait it Out
Molluscum does actually go away on its own, especially in the case of children. It does take a long time (somewhere between 12 and 18 months), but some people prefer to patiently wait it out, especially for children, so as to avoid unwanted side-effects from other options.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Tea Tree Oil
Topical Medicinal Ointments
Doctors will sometimes prescribe topical medicines, such as Imiquimod, and these can be applied to the affected area at home. Ask your doctor about these options.
Procedures by Dermatologists
Dermatologists can perform various procedures to get rid of these bumps. They can freeze off the bumps (cryosurgery), or scrape the bumps off (curettage). Another way in which this is done is by destroying the top layers of the skin. Tricholoracetic acid is often used topically by doctors to treat people with severe cases. Yet another option for people with severe cases is laser treatment.