Molluscum contagiosum is a common skin infection characterized by a cluster of small, painless bumps on the skin. The condition is viral, unlike psoriasis and acne, and may be spread by person to person contact or contact with contaminated items like towels or clothing.
Individuals can also spread molluscum from one area of the body to another through scratching or picking at the bumps. Molluscum is most commonly seen in children, but it can also affect adults. Those with compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable to the infection.
What Causes Molluscum?
Molluscum is caused by a virus in the poxvirus family. It is most frequently spread through skin to skin contact. The virus is common in children because it can quickly spread through schools and daycare centers. In adults it can spread through intimate contact.
What are Molluscum Treatment Options?
Molluscum contagiosum often goes away without treatment, but it can take months or even years for the infection to go away on its own. Treatment may be recommended to avoid spreading the infection and for more rapid resolution.
Common treatment options for molluscum contagiosum include:
- Topical agents
- Laser procedures
Topical agents applied in the physician office are commonly used for treamtment for molluscum. These agents work by destroying the top skin layers and the infected bump. Other prescribed treatments work by increasing the immunity to allow body’s own immune system to eliminate the molluscum. Cryotherapy is a method of freezing away the bumps, while curettage removes them by gently scraping them off the skin’s surface. Treatment may need to be repeated to ensure full removal of the bumps and the infection.