Call us
Diseases & Conditions

Molluscum Contagiosum: A Skin Infection

Molluscum contagiosum, a highly contagious viral skin infection, spreads by direct skin-to-skin contact or by contact with contaminated objects. The disease is most often seen in children and adults with compromised immune systems.

Symptoms of Molluscum

The condition is characterized by firm, round, painless bumps on the skin. The bumps are typically smaller in size than a pencil eraser and may have a small indention near the center. The bumps usually appear on the neck, face, arms, armpits, and hands in children. Molluscum contagiosum affecting the genitals, inner thighs, and lower abdomen of adults is considered a sexually transmitted disease. The bumps can become itchy, red, and inflamed, which can lead to scratching and the spread of the virus to nearby skin or objects.

Causes of Molluscum

Skin-to-skin contact can allow the virus to enter through small breaks in the skin. Scratching and rubbing the bumps can transfer the virus to toys, towels, faucets, and other objects and spread it to other parts of the body. A person can also become infected through sexual contact with an infected individual.

Treatments for Molluscum

The virus that causes molluscum contagiosum may resolve on its own, and the bumps may go away within a year; however, a doctor may recommend treatment to remove the bumps and to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Over-the-counter products containing potassium hydroxide or salicylic acid may help dissolve the lesions. We also offer a variety of prescription topical creams, including tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene to treat the condition. It is important to note that these medications contain retinoids and should not be taken by women who are or who may become pregnant. Scraping, freezing, and laser therapy may also be used to remove molluscum contagiosum bumps.

Preventing Molluscum

To keep from spreading the virus, it is important to practice good hand hygiene, avoid sharing personal items like towels or razors, and avoid coming into contact with the bumps of an infected person.

Medications to Treat Molluscum Contagiosum

Over-the-Counter Medications:

  • Compound W
  • FreeZone
  • WartOff

Compounded Medications:
We can make topical solutions, creams or lotions of the following:

  • Gowey tincture
  • Cantharidin
  • Salicylic acid
  • Tretinoin
  • "It is rare to find health professionals who are so willing to educate the patient on what they need to know."

    Clair C. | West Hollywood, CA