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Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Dermoscopy of molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Rosettes in molluscum contagiosum


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  • Molluscum contagiosum


Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Pictures

Molluscum contagiosum is an infection that causes small bumps on the skin and can be spread through contact with a virus. Though it often heals on its own, several treatment options are also available.

Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection caused by a virus of the same name. It produces benign, raised bumps, or lesions, on the upper layers of your skin.

The small bumps are usually painless. They resolve without treatment and rarely leave scars. The length of time the virus lasts varies for each person, but the bumps can remain from 2 months to 4 years.

Molluscum contagiosum (M. contagiosum) transmits between people through direct skin contact with someone who has the virus or by touching an object that the virus has contaminated, like a towel or a piece of clothing.

Medication and surgical treatments are available, but you won’t need them most of the time. The virus can be more difficult to treat or cause more severe effects if you have a weakened immune system.

In this article, we explain the symptoms, causes, and treatments for molluscum contagiosum.

If you or your child comes into contact with the M. contagiosum virus, you may not see symptoms of infection for up to 6 months. These symptoms usually take between 2 and 7 weeks to show from the moment you acquire the molluscum contagiosum virus.

You may notice the appearance of a small group of painless lesions. These bumps can appear alone or in a patch of as many as 20. They’re usually:

  • very small, shiny, and smooth in appearance
  • flesh-colored, white, or pink
  • firm and shaped like a dome with a dent or dimple in the middle
  • filled with a central core of waxy material
  • between 2 to 5 millimeters in diameter, or between the size of the head of a pin and the size of an eraser on the top of a pencil
  • present anywhere except on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet — specifically on the face, abdomen, torso, arms, and legs of children, or the inner thigh, genitals, and abdomen of adults

Most presentations of molluscum contagiosum heal without treatment. But some people experience complications, including:

  • impetigo, or a skin infection that develops after scratching the lesions
  • conjunctivitis, an eye infection that may develop if lesions occur on the eyelid
  • disseminated secondary eczema, which might occur as a result of overreaction to the virus by your immune system
  • widespread molluscum contagiosum that are larger than usual, often on the face (this often develops in people with reduced immunity)
  • sudden scarring with a pitted appearance, either spontaneously or due to lesion removal surgery

Molluscum contagiosum occurs when you acquire the M. contagiosum virus, a type of poxvirus.

This virus can transmit between people while lesions are visible. It’s also possible to transmit the virus from one area of skin on your own body to another part.

There are a number of ways that M. contagiosum passes between people, including:

  • Skin contact with a person who carries the infection. You can get molluscum contagiosum by touching the lesions on the skin of a person who has this infection. Children can transmit the virus during normal play with other children. Teens and adults are more likely to contract it through sexual contact. You can also become infected during contact sports that involve touching bare skin, like wrestling or football.
  • Contact with surfaces that a person with molluscum contagiosum has touched. The virus can survive on surfaces that has made contact with the skin. It’s possible to contract the virus by handling contaminated towels, clothing, toys, or other items.
  • Sharing sports equipment that has had contact with a person who has molluscum contagiosum. The virus can remain on equipment for transmission to another person. This includes items like baseball gloves, wrestling mats, and football helmets.
  • Internal spread. If you have molluscum contagiosum, you might spread the infection throughout your body. You can transfer the virus from one part of your body to another by touching, scratching, or shaving a bump and then touching another part of your body.

Transmission seems to take place more in wet environments, like during children’s shared swimming classes. If skin lesions are no longer visible, the virus can no longer pass from your body to that of another person.

Anyone can get molluscum contagiosum, but certain groups of people are more likely to acquire the virus and experience symptoms than others. These groups include:

  • children between the ages of 1 and 10 years
  • people who live in tropical climates
  • people with weakened immune systems due to organ transplants, cancer treatments, or living with health issues that affect the immune system like HIV
  • people who have atopic dermatitis, a common form of eczema that causes scaly, itchy rashes
  • people who participate in contact sports in which skin-to-skin contact is common, like wrestling or football,

The skin bumps caused by molluscum contagiosum have a distinct appearance. For this reason, your doctor can often diagnose molluscum contagiosum by physically examining the affected area.

They may confirm the diagnosis using a skin scraping or biopsy.

You should always have your doctor examine any skin lesions that last longer than a few days, even though molluscum contagiosum is unlikely to require treatment. A confirmed diagnosis of molluscum contagiosum will rule out other causes for the lesions, like:

  • skin cancer
  • chickenpox
  • warts

If you need help finding a primary care doctor, then check out our FindCare tool here.

Most people with a healthy immune system won’t need to seek treatment for molluscum contagiosum. These bumps usually fade away without medical intervention.

When to see a doctor about molluscum contagiosum

Some circumstances may make you a good candidate for treatment:

  • your lesions are large and located on your face and neck
  • you have an existing health problem that causes skin effects, like atopic dermatitis
  • you have concerns about spreading the virus
  • you’ve received treatment or acquired a health problem that reduces your immune activity

Medical treatments for

molluscum contagiosum

A doctor can perform one of several effective treatments for molluscum contagiosum. These include:

  • Cryotherapy. The doctor freezes each bump with liquid nitrogen.
  • Curettage. The doctor pierces the bump and scrapes it off the skin with a small tool.
  • Laser therapy. The doctor uses a laser to destroy each bump.
  • Topical therapy. The doctor applies creams containing acids or chemicals to the bumps to induce peeling of the top layers of the skin. Topical therapy creams may contain iodine and salicylic acid, tretinoin, cantharidin (a blistering agent that a doctor usually applies), and imiquimod (T cell modifier)

These techniques can be painful and cause scarring for some people. Anesthesia may also be necessary during the procedure.

Since these methods involve treating each bump, a procedure may require more than one session. If you have many large bumps, additional treatment may be necessary every 3 to 6 weeks until the bumps disappear. New bumps may appear as the existing ones heal.

Prescribed medications for molluscum contagiosum

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe the following medications:

  • creams that contain iodine and salicylic acid or potassium hydroxide
  • trichloroacetic acid
  • topical podophyllotoxin cream (Condylox)
  • cantharidin (Cantharone), a blistering agent that a doctor usually applies
  • imiquimod (Aldara), a T cell modifier (although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don’t recommend its use in children, as it hasn’t been proven effective and can cause severe side effects)

If you’re pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding or chestfeeding, let your doctor know about your status before taking these medications or any others. For example, podophyllotoxin cream may be safe for people assigned male at birth, but people who are pregnant should avoid it, as its ingredients might be toxic to your fetus.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the most effective treatment for people who live with HIV if they contract molluscum contagiosum. It can help strengthen the immune system and fight the virus.

Seek consultation with your doctor before attempting any treatments for molluscum contagiosum.

In people with a healthy immune system, molluscum contagiosum will usually resolve without treatment. Typically, this happens gradually within 6 to 12 months and without scarring.

But for some, it may take from a few months up to a few years for the bumps to disappear. The infection can be more persistent and last even longer for people with immune system problems.

Once the lesions fade, the M. contagiosum virus is no longer present in your body. When this happens, you can’t spread the virus to other people or parts of your body. You’ll only see more bumps if another infection develops.

If you’ve had molluscum contagiosum once, you can still get the infection again.

The best way to prevent getting molluscum contagiosum is to avoid touching the skin of another person who has the infection. Following these suggestions can also help you prevent the spread of the infection:

  • Practice effective hand washing with warm water and soap.
  • Instruct children in hand-washing techniques since they’re more likely to use touch in play and interaction with others.
  • Avoid sharing personal items. This includes towels, clothing, hairbrushes, or bar soaps.
  • Avoid using shared sports gear that may have come in direct contact with someone else’s bare skin.
  • Avoid picking at or touching areas of your skin where the bumps are visible.
  • Keep the bumps clean and covered to prevent yourself or others from touching them and spreading the virus.
  • Avoid shaving or using electrolysis where the bumps are located.
  • Avoid sexual contact if you have bumps in the genital area.

Molluscum contagiosum: symptoms, treatment, ways of transmission

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin disease. It is manifested by pink nodules, in the center of which there is a slight depression. The disease has nothing to do with mollusks – except that the shape of the nodules is similar to a snail (and even then with a very strong increase).

The cause of molluscum contagiosum is a virus of the same name – it belongs to the same family as the variola virus. Interestingly, the disease most often resolves on its own and does not require serious intervention.

Risk groups

Men are at risk (they get sick more often), as well as children (mainly under 4 years old) – they account for up to 11% of all infections. In total, up to 22% of people in the world are infected with this virus, depending on the place of residence. The virus spreads best in warm and humid climates.

Elderly people with a weakened immune system, as well as patients with immunodeficiencies (for example, HIV) are also at risk. Often people who suffer from atopic dermatitis get sick with this disease.

Ways of transmission

To be as safe as possible, you need to know which routes of transmission of molluscum contagiosum are common. In this case it is:

  • Household contact with a sick person or with contaminated things. Usually these are personal belongings of the patient – for example, a towel.
  • Sexual contact with an infected person. Often rashes are localized on the genitals, in the lower abdomen and on the inner thighs.
  • Transmission from mother to child. This is not common, but still a likely option.
  • Infection during tattooing – this occurs in situations where the instruments are not sterile and the master does not follow safety rules.

If there is a person with such an infection in the immediate environment, one must be very careful, since the ways of transmission of molluscum contagiosum are quite simple.


Nodules that appear on the surface of the skin are usually small – up to two millimeters in diameter. As the disease progresses, they grow, may change color (become reddish) and merge into larger formations. If you press on the knot, a whitish mass, similar to gruel, will stand out from it.

Formations do not cause discomfort to the patient. Itching, pain and other unpleasant symptoms are absent. The temperature also does not rise, the general condition remains normal or good.

Usually nodules appear on the face, neck, chest, armpits, on the genitals and on the folds of the arms (under the elbows) or legs (under the knees). Although there are no restrictions here – they can occur on other parts of the body.


The main form of molluscum contagiosum in children or adults is typical. She has the symptoms described above.

There are also atypical (very rare) forms, for example:

  • Horny molluscs. In this case, the skin on the rash is very flaky, comes off the surface with scales.
  • Cystic molluscs. Where a nodule immediately forms, cysts subsequently grow.
  • Giant clams. Such rashes can grow up to three centimeters in diameter and even more.

These are far from all forms of atypical molluscum contagiosum, but the risks of encountering them are minimal.


As a rule, the diagnosis of molluscum contagiosum is very simple and requires a simple examination (less often with dermoscopy). In extremely rare cases, the patient is prescribed a biopsy, even more rarely – PCR. To make a diagnosis, you need to contact a dermatologist.


The specific treatment of molluscum contagiosum differs in different countries. For example, in Europe, doctors are just waiting. If the disease is not treated, then after 6-24 months (depending on the immune response) it goes away on its own.

Despite this, in Russia it is customary to immediately begin active treatment of the disease – this is due to the fact that it spreads quickly and easily.

For treatment, mechanical removal of nodules (curettage), cryodestruction (their destruction with liquid nitrogen), laser destruction, and electrocoagulation are used. Medicines are not prescribed orally, but local ointments and other agents can be used.

During treatment, you can not visit the pool, public baths, saunas and similar places. Close contact with other people should also be avoided to prevent further transmission of the virus.

Separately, it should be said about the treatment of molluscum contagiosum in people with HIV infection. In them, the disease is more complicated and often does not go away on its own, and therefore requires a more serious approach from specialists.

If you are faced with symptoms of molluscum contagiosum, seek help from JSC “Medicina” – the clinic has dermatologists who will quickly and accurately make a diagnosis, and then prescribe an effective treatment.


Usually, the prevention of molluscum contagiosum implies the following rules:

  • Mandatory observance of personal hygiene rules. Do not use other people’s towels, razors. If you visit the pool, then after it you need to take a shower with detergents – soap or shower gel.
  • Regular preventive examinations in kindergartens and schools. This is necessary in order to detect the disease in the early stages and prevent its active spread.
  • Attentive attitude to one’s health during sexual activity. It is necessary to use condoms, and, if possible, have a partner whose health you are sure of.
  • Isolation of sick children from children’s groups in kindergartens and schools until full recovery.
  • Avoidance of excessive shaving for patients with HIV, since the infection is actively spread by shaving due to weakened immunity.

Usually, basic care and adherence to the necessary hygiene measures are enough to significantly reduce the risks of infection with molluscum contagiosum.

Questions and answers

Why do different doctors offer different treatments for molluscum contagiosum?

There is no consensus in the medical community about this disease. There is considerable controversy regarding all forms of treatment – much remains to be explored. As a rule, here you can go in different ways. But in the clinic of JSC “Medicina” patients will always be offered the safest and most effective treatment.

Are there complications with molluscum contagiosum?

Among the complications of molluscum contagiosum are the formation of scars at the site of removed nodules, chronic conjunctivitis (if the area around the eyes is affected), as well as additional bacterial complications – folliculitis, superficial skin infection, etc.

Is it possible to cure molluscum contagiosum in folk ways?

Considering that even in traditional medicine there is no one effective remedy, and doctors most often resort to removing nodules, treatment with folk methods is simply pointless. It is better to spend time and effort on making an appointment with a dermatologist and get competent advice.

treatment, symptom, photo, cause / Laser Doctor St. Petersburg

You can “pick up” a viral infection at any age for both sexes. At the same time, viruses infect not only internal organs, but also the skin, as a result of which various neoplasms may appear on its surface. This article will discuss one of these neoplasms – about molluscum contagiosum on the skin, what it is, how this disease is treated and the causes of its appearance.

Skin mollusk

Molluscum contagiosum is a skin disease that is caused by the activity of a virus of the poxvirus family. By the way, these viruses belong to the smallpox group. Despite this, the virus does not pose a direct health risk. However, the neoplasm caused by its activity is a cosmetic defect.

The disease of the mollusk looks like round-shaped small growths on the surface of the skin, having small depressions in the center. At the first stages, they usually do not exceed 1-3 mm in diameter. But over time, they gradually increase to one centimeter in diameter. A giant mollusk can exceed these sizes. Such a neoplasm is obtained due to the activity of the virus: once on the skin, it causes an accelerated division of skin cells.

Sometimes the mollusk can pass on its own. However, it is not known how much time this may take: from two weeks to several years. But after recovery, a person develops immunity. Which, however, does not always save from the reappearance of the skin mollusk.

What molluscum contagiosum looks like

The main symptoms of a mollusc:

• neoplasm of corporal or pinkish color of round shape;

• diameter 1-10 millimeters;

• there is a depression in the center of the neoplasm;

• do not cause pain, but may cause itching;

• whitish mass in the core, wax-like in consistency.

Usually, a mollusk appears on the skin in a small amount: up to ten neoplasms. But there may be more. Especially if the patient has problems with immunity. For example, in the presence of HIV, AIDS or a history of malignant neoplasms.

Mollusks on the skin can appear on almost any part of the body: face, limbs, torso, in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe intimate zone

Molluscum infestation

Most often, infection occurs by contact. Sometimes the shellfish can be transmitted through personal hygiene items or liquid. For example, in a public pool. Often transmitted sexually.

Reduced immunity has a significant effect on infection. In addition, additional factors may include:

• young age;

• non-observance of hygiene rules;

• promiscuous sex life;

• Combing and rubbing the skin.

It should be noted that the virus does well in the environment, and can live in water or soil. The incubation period after infection with molluscum contagiosum can last from a couple of weeks to several months.

Should molluscum contagiosum be removed

Despite the fact that molluscum contagiosum is a benign neoplasm, doctors do not recommend waiting for it to go away on its own. First, it can take several years. Secondly, neoplasms do not look the most aesthetic way, therefore they can cause self-doubt and various disorders. Thirdly, shellfish on the skin are extremely contagious and can be easily spread from person to person. Therefore, the whole family can become infected.

Molluscum contagiosum treatments

Today, there are several ways to eliminate the mollusk. However, you should never resort to self-medication. If a mollusk is found, you should wash your hands as often as possible, do not scratch or rub the skin, do not shave the hair at the site of localization, lubricate the papules with a disinfectant solution, and do not wet the skin with the neoplasm. And, of course, you need to make an appointment with a doctor. Firstly, it is necessary to make the correct diagnosis: only a specialist with a higher medical education can determine the type of neoplasm. Second, your doctor will recommend the best treatment for you. Thirdly, you will learn directly from a specialist what a mollusk is on the skin, how it is treated. You also need to know that the removal of any neoplasm should be carried out in conjunction with a histological examination.

Molluscum removal methods on the skin:

• Removal of neoplasm with various ointments. This or that drug should always be prescribed by a doctor. As well as the frequency of its use. This type of treatment can take many days or weeks.

• Coagulation by electric current. When exposed to electricity, tissues of the neoplasm are destroyed. The procedure can be quite painful. Of the obvious disadvantages, the appearance of scars and the need for repeated procedures for treating the mollusk can be noted.

• Cryodestruction. Another way to destroy neoplasm tissue. However, in this case, a substance with an ultra-low temperature, liquid nitrogen, is used. The disadvantages are the same as the previous method: pain, scarring, the possible need to repeat the procedure. Therefore, it is more suitable for removing molluscs on the body.

• Curettage. The essence of this procedure is the physical scraping of the neoplasm. For this, special tools are used: a curette or special thin tweezers. The session can be quite painful. In addition, scars may remain after the procedure.

• Removal by laser. For the procedure, a special carbon dioxide laser “Lancet” is used, which literally evaporates the mollusk on the skin in layers. Treatment with this method is today considered one of the most effective, many experts advise it.

Molluscum on the skin: laser treatment

So what are the benefits of laser treatment?

1. After exposure to the laser, the minimum likelihood of scarring.

2. The procedure is quite comfortable even under local anesthetic application.

3. There is no bleeding, as the laser beam solders (coagulates) the vessels.

4. Virtually zero chance of infection as the laser disinfects the skin.

5. The high precision of the laser procedure makes it possible to influence exclusively the tissues of the neoplasm. Therefore, the procedure is excellent even for removing the mollusk on the face.

6. Minimal risk of neoplasm recurrence.

7. Ability to remove the neoplasm in one short session: on average, its duration is 20-30 minutes.

8. There is no need to prepare for the session or recover for a long time after it.

In addition, after the procedure, minimal care is needed for the treated areas:

• Do not sunbathe;

• Do not go to the sauna, bath;

• Treat the skin with recommended products.

Are there any contraindications for laser mollusk removal

Of course, laser therapy against molluscum contagiosum has a number of limitations and contraindications. So, a laser session is not performed in the presence of any bleeding. In addition, any disease, including the exit from remission, is a contraindication. The procedure is not carried out in the presence of diseases of the central nervous system, for which the nature of increased excitability.

To exclude restrictions and contraindications, it is recommended to make an appointment with a laser therapist in advance. At the appointment, it is necessary to tell the specialist about all diagnosed diseases, including chronic ones.