Molluscum, known technically as ‘molluscum contagiosum’, is a viral skin infection that is called by a DNA poxvirus called – perhaps unsurprisingly – molluscum contagiosum virus.
The condition is highly contagious and quite common and is most often seen in children and those who are sexually active. The virus spreads via direct skin contact which explains the main demographics effected, though it can also spread via objects and clothing/towels. There are four types of Molluscum called MCV-21, MCV-2, MCV-3 and MCV-4. The symptoms of molluscum are flesh coloured lesions that are dome shaped protruding out of the ski and that are pearly in appearance. These occur mostly on the trunk of the body and the limbs and due to their protruding nature they can be quite noticeable and unpleasant and may also be easily damaged resulting in more bleeding and scarring. In around 10% of cases eczema can develop and there may be bleeding. In some cases the virus will also spread to other skin areas.
Normally the lesions will disappear by three months and often significantly more quickly. However when it spreads to other skin areas it can last as long as eight months. In some rare cases it might last this way for up to five years. There are many ways to treat molluscum to help speed this process up however.
One way to treat molluscum at home is with the cream benzol peroxide. Twice daily topical application of the peroxide over four weeks was found in one study, and after 12 weeks 92% of the participant were found to be lesion free. Lesions have been found also to be limited in growth and spreading by using topical application of tea tree oils. Wart medicines such a salicylic acid, which can be bought over the counter, may also prove to be helpful.
In cases where home treatments are ineffective, individuals may choose to use laser treatment or other surgery to remove the lesions. Sufferers should also see a doctor for correct diagnosis and other treatment options.