What is molluscum contagiosum (MC)?

 -       MC is a common superficial viral infection caused by a type of pox virus that infects the outer layer of skin.

-       MC produces something like warts; however, a different virus is involved.

What does MC look like?


-       MC consists of dome-shaped, shiny or waxy bumps with a central white core.

Who gets MC?

      -      Young, healthy children (infants and  preschoolers)

     -      Young, healthy adults who are sexually  active

     -      Individuals who have lowered immunity

   How does MC spread?


    -     MC is spread by skin-to-skin contact.

    -    The little “bumps” are spread by picking and  rubbing.

Are there any symptoms?

   -    MC can be itchy.             


Where does it occur?

  -    MC often appears on the face, including the eyelids. It also is seen in the armpits and on the arms and legs and sometimes on the chest, back, and abdomen. It may also arise on the thighs, genitals and pubic areas.

 -     In young children, MC can appear in areas  of the skin that have eczema, a common itchy skin   disorder.


How is it treated?

Office treatment

-     The “bumps” may be frozen lightly with   liquid nitrogen applied with a cotton swab (Q-Tip) or a     “freezing gun.”

-     Your health care provider may apply a blistering liquid agent, such as cantharidin, carefully with a  toothpick to each bump

every 3 to 4 weeks. (This is a painless procedure).

-     Burning and scraping (electrodesiccation and curettage) may be necessary for stubborn MC lesions.

Home treatment

-      A liquid wart medicine that contains salicylic acid may be applied carefully. It should be applied  with a toothpick only to the center of the “bump.”

-     The eyelid area should not be treated using this method!

-     A little irritation usually occurs. If the area becomes too irritated, stop using the liquid medication for a day or two and then use it again when the irritation disappears.

Something to keep in mind:

-       It is also an option not to treat this condition, especially in very young children, and just wait for it to go away on its own, but of course, if you do that, you run the risk that it will spread further, possibly spreading MC to other children.