There are a number of topical treatments (creams, lotions and ointments) that can be used to treat MC.
All of these treatments were originally designed to treat other types of skin conditions, such as genital warts, acne and psoriasis, but they have since proven effective in treating some cases of MC.
The following topical treatments are usually given under the supervision of a dermatologist (a specialist in treating skin conditions) or another qualified healthcare professional.
Podophyllotoxin comes in liquid form and poisons the cells of the spots. A special application stick is used to draw up the correct dosage of the liquid, which is then dripped onto each spot. You may experience some mild irritation.
Treatment with podophyllotoxin is based on cycles. The first cycle involves applying the medication twice a day for three days. This is followed by four days without treatment. Most people need four or five treatment cycles separated by rest cycles.
Imiquimod is a cream that may be used to treat larger spots or large clusters of spots. It works by stimulating your immune system into attacking the spots. You apply the cream to the spots before washing it off after 6-10 hours. This should be done three times a week. It may take several weeks of treatment before you notice an improvement in your symptoms. Common side effects of imiquimod include: hardening and flakiness of the skinSwelling of the skin A burning or itching sensation after applying the cream Headache
These side effects are usually mild and should pass within two weeks of stopping treatment with imiquimod.
Benzoyl peroxide is usually available in cream or gel form and used either once or twice a day. It should be applied to all parts of your face that are affected by spots, 20 minutes after washing. Use benzoyl peroxide sparingly because too much can harm your skin.
Benzoyl peroxide makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so avoid excessive exposure to sunlight and ultra-violet (UV) light, or wear sun cream.
Avoid contact with hair, clothes, towels and bed linen because benzoyl peroxide can bleach these materials. Wash your hands thoroughly after you finish applying the medication.
Common side effects of benzoyl peroxide include:-Dry and tense skin Burning, itching or stinging sensation Some redness and peeling of the skin
These side effects are usually mild and should resolve after the treatment has finished. However, you should contact your GP if you have side effects that become troublesome. Your dose may need to be adjusted.
Tretinoin is available as a gel or cream and is applied once or twice a day to individual lesions. As with benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin can make your skin sensitive to sunlight and UV light.
Tretinoin is not suitable for use during pregnancy because it can cause birth defects. It is important to use a reliable method of contraception while taking tretinoin if you are a sexually active woman.
The most common side effects of tretinoin are mild irritation and stinging of the skin. It may take several months of treatment with tretinoin before you notice an improvement in your symptoms.