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What Is Molluscum?

Molluscum is a viral skin infection that stems from a virus known as molluscum contagiosum. It produces small, painless bumps on the skin and sometimes lesions. The skin infection from this virus typically goes away on its own after a time, but it can stay around for years in some cases. Molluscum spreads quite easily through contact from person to person via touch, objects and clothing. In cases where molluscum causes a good deal of discomfort or interferes with quality of life, medical treatment may be required.

Signs and Symptoms of Molluscum

The main sign of molluscum is the presence of a small group of bumps on the skin. They can be a single group or exist in a larger patch of lesions. These bumps are often:

  • Shiny and smooth.
  • The same color as the flesh, or else white or pink.
  • Firm and dome-shaped.
  • Somewhere in size between a pinhead and a pencil eraser.
  • Present anywhere on the body except the palms and the soles of the feet.

What Causes Molluscum?

Molluscum is caused by the virus molluscum contagiosum. This virus spreads quite easily from one person to the next. Children can pass it to one another through the normal course of play by touching the same objects or one another. Teens and adults more often catch it through sexual contact, though athletes in contact sports can also contract it. Patients can also spread it across their own bodies by touching a lesion and then touching another area of the body.

How Molluscum Is Treated

While molluscum can resolve on their own, it can take months to years for them to resolve. During that time, the spots can spread or become bothersome and itch. Therefore, it is recommended that the lesions are treated. It is important to note that it often takes multiple treatments (visits) before all lesions are fully resolved. Additionally, new lesions may form in between treatments. Consistent follow up visits can optimize treatment success.

  • Canthacur: The first line of treatment is a topical solution called Canthacur or “Beetle Juice.” This solution is placed on the individual lesions in the office and causes the lesions to become irritated and red. This allows the body’s immune system to recognize the virus and fight it off on its own.
  • Liquid Nitrogen Cryotherapy: Similar to warts, molluscum can be treated with liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen causes inflammation and sometimes blistering to target and treat the molluscum lesions.

While these are the main treatments, there are some at-home treatments (Zymaderm) and oral treatments (Cimetidine) that usually have less efficacy than the above recommendations, but can be used in conjunction for resistant molluscum.Whatever treatment is recommended, it is important to be patient as multiple treatments are necessary to completely resolve molluscum.


Canthacur is a substance applied topically to the skin that works as a vesicant, causing a blister to form on a growth. Learn More


Imiquimod is a topical cream that stimulates the immune system. Learn More

Liquid Nitrogen Cryotherapy

Liquid nitrogen cryotherapy works by freezing and destroying the cells in a skin growth or lesion. Learn More

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