> Molluscum Treatment
Molluscum Contagiosum, or MC, is a virus in the Poxvirus family that
causes small lumps or papules on the skin’s surface, much the
same way the HPV virus manifests as warts. The lumps can range from
‘pinhead’ size to the size of a silver dollar and are
usually light colored and smooth. Molluscum Contagiosum is very common
in the United States, affecting accounting for nearly 1% of all skin
disorders. Like warts, molluscum contagiosum can manifest as a single
lesion or multiple lesions. MC can also spread easily, resulting in
larger outbreaks. Although most molluscum contagiosum is found in
children, adults are susceptible as well. As with smallpox, molluscum
contagiosum only affects humans, and does not affect other mammals
Once you have contracted molluscum contagiosum, the virus will incubate
in your body for a number of weeks. Depending on your immune system
strength, physical symptoms may appear quicker or not at all. Initially,
the MC rash will start to appear as small flesh colored papules or
raised bumps. As they mature, the papules may start to indent in the
center, revealing a whitish core which can be ‘squeezed’
out. Once the MC rash is present, it is already contagious. Simply
scratching or irritating the area can lead to more eruptions. In most
cases, molluscum contagiosum is not painful or itchy.
Molluscum Contagiosum rashes can appear on any area of the skin, however
they most commonly manifest on the face (eye area), the neck, the
underarms and thigh area. MC rashes can also appear in the genital
area and in this capacity can be spread through intercourse. MC rashes
spreading via intercourse are considered STD’s.
MC rashes will usually manifest in groups of papules, usually fewer
than 20 in each group. The amount of papules and the surface area
of the rash is dependant on the strength of the immune system, although
research is yet unclear on this. It has been shown that people with
auto immune deficiencies tend to have larger areas affected, with
a greater number of papules sometimes coalescing into large lesions.
Molluscum Contagiosum Transmission
Molluscum Contagiosum, like HPV and HSV1, is transmitted through direct
contact or via a fomite. Touching the rash area of an infected individual
transfers the virus to your body, at which point the virus will incubate
for a number of weeks. In some cases, physical manifestations of the
virus will never appear on some individuals. Common ways of transferring
the virus include playing (especially among children), swimming, intimacy
(where skin to skin contact is continuous), and touching (especially
immediately after touching the rash area). Transmitting via fomites
is also possible with molluscum contagiosum. A fomite is an inanimate
object on which the virus can live for a short period of time. Examples
of fomite transmission are sharing of towels and utensils that have
been in direct contact with the infected area.
There are a variety of treatment options for molluscum contagiosum,
and even without treatment the condition will eventually go away (sometimes
in a matter of years). The most common reasons for treatment are;
lesions on unsightly areas such as the face and eyelids, fear of spreading
the virus to children or partners, and fear of permanent scarring
when lesions become large or coalesce. Treatment options re very similar
to those of common warts.
Cryotherapy: usually called ‘freezing’, cryotherapy is
the practice of using liquid nitrogen to freeze the lesion. After
freezing, the lesion can be scraped off with a curette. This method
can cause minor discomfort and may have minor side effects such as
blistering at the site of the removed lesion.
Laser Treatment: laser treatment is becoming a very popular method
of treatment ranging from diseases treatment, surgical procedures
and cosmetic surgery. As with blue light acne treatment, laser treatment
for molluscum contagiosum literally burns off the lesion or papule.
There is little to no scarring. The procedure itself may be uncomfortable
or mildly painful and is still quite costly. More than one treatment
may be necessary.
Over The Counter: in some cases, over the counter drugs will be used
to treat severe MC. Tretinoin creams may be used (Retin-A) or Salicylic
acid as a topical medication to reduce lesions. The same products
are used in some form for severe acne.
Natural Treatment: natural treatments have been proven as effective
as many over the counter medications and surgical procedures. Many
natural healing oils and extracts can help reduce and eradicate molluscum
contagiosum in a matter of days. Lemon Myrtle and Tea Tree Oil have
been shown to be the most effective, however treatments are now sold
everywhere that combine the perfect amount of each natural ingredient
to save you time and money. Natural treatments for molluscum contagiosum
have virtually no side effects.
Besides taking extra care when around others with molluscum contagiosum,
there is no easy way to prevent you from contracting the virus. Avoid
try to sharing towels and utensils. Avoid direct skin contact with
those showing an MC rash.
If you already have MC and want to prevent spreading, avoid scratching
the rash area. Try not to touch any area around the rash and launder
clothes regularly while using a treatment regimen. If you have a rash
on the face, try to avoid shaving those areas (for women the same
applies for the legs). Of course, if the MC rash is present in the
genital area, try to avoid sexual activity until your molluscum contagiosum
symptoms are completely gone.
American Academy of Dermatology:
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research