Molluscum Contagiosum

Topical treatments

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 skin

Swelling of the skin
A burning or itching sensation after applying the cream

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.

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9 thoughts on “Molluscum Contagiosum

  • ana

    thank you for sharing. In my case, i wish the doctor would tell me to treat it when it was just on bump. Now my daughter has like 20 on her back, MC spread fast!!!, i will try immune system boost for her. She is on Imiquimod for 12 weeks. when we went to the doctor, he said” it will go away by it’s own” then they were 10..we went again to see her regular doctor and again he said “it will go away” I couldn’t believe it! then my husband and I decided to see a dermatologist. The only thing i wish is that when it was only ONE bump the doctor would referred us to a dermatologist.
    Imiquimod is working really slow, but WHILE one bump disappears 3 little ones appear.
    My advice, get them removed when its only ONE OR TWO BUMPS! its hard to keep the kids from scratching them!
    saves you time and money! and it does not spread to other little ones.

    • All about nothing Post author

      Thanks, I have cleared it up a little there was some bad grammar and spelling mistakes but I am not the best writer unfortunately.

  • Lara Bee

    Thanks for writing this. Like many parents I’m combing the Internet searching for help. We tried the Apple Cider a while ago, didnt do much. We did see a dermotoligst he treated the one she had with beetle juice (can’t recall the medical name) and then, one left and six spouted up. I’m so upset. My daughter contracted this from swim team. She’s so upset she quit swim and threw away 3 years of hard training. We are seeing a different dermotoligst tomorrow. I don’t know what to do. It’s on her neck, she’s in 5th grade not the best age to be trying to deal with this. 🙁 In our time, with medicine the way it is, we shouldn’t have to deal with things like this. There should be a straight forward cure. Duct tape? Witchcraft, beetle juice applecider ? UGH !!!!

  • helenjones62

    My son had many molluscum spots, his torso was pretty much covered in them. We received the same advice from the GP to leave them alone and they would go in a couple of years, but we were also told that our son couldn’t go swimming while he was suffering from it. He loved swimming and two years was just too long to be away from it!
    In the end, what worked was Thuja homeopathy tablets, I can’t remember where I bought them from, this was 10 years ago. I’m not convinced homeopathy works for everything but it certainly did the trick in this case. I do know of one other child whose molluscum cleared up using Thuja, too.
    Hope this helps someone!

  • worried mummy

    thank you…my 5 year old daugter have them on her chin…6 for a 10 months now…3 weeks ago 7 more apeard like over night…it doesnt look nice…her lil sister got them too all over her body and its seems that soaking in a bath with apple cider vinegar dry s them out and hopefully they r going away..
    But doesnt help my other daugther and at the moment im trying some molludab(potassium hidroxid) it seems to make them very angry and scars the skin around but the spot are not really changing…we r 3 days on it x2 a day…it doesnt look nice at all either way and i dread letting her going back to shcool tomorrow

  • Laura

    So what really works. My granddaughter who is 4 probably has 60 on her. A dermatologist used some chemical which caused blisters. Now we are trying to cure the blister sores. I have read some articles about Lemon Myrtle. It’s a oil and also comes in the form of cram from Australia. Though I cant’ find it locally I am considering ordering it.

  • Hannah

    This virus is just awful. My daughter had it for 3 years and had probably more than 50 on her inner thighs and then a few on her arms. They got infected and irritated regularly and were just awful. Some got really big too. She got them when she was 8.5years old. We tried very treatment we could find, herbal, tea tree, cider vinegar, fucibet etc etc nothing worked. We just had to wait for them to go . We went to dermatologist and he froze two on her knee hoping it would shock her immune system into recognising them and clearing them. Didn’t work. Was such a stressful time. Now she has been clear for 6 months and my youngest who is 5 has just developed 2….. can’t even explain how upset I am. Can’t go through this again. Just hoping she has less than her sister. Torn between ignoring them and treating them seeing as there are only 2 so far … not sure what to do