Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a viral infection of the skin or occasionally of the mucous membranes.Molluscum contagiosum lesions are flesh-colored, dome-shaped, and pearly in appearance. They are often 1-5 millimeters in diameter, with a dimpled center. They are generally not painful, but they may itch or become irritated.
Picking or scratching the bumps may lead to further infection or scarring.
Individual molluscum lesions may go away on their own and are reported as lasting generally from 6 to 8 weeks, to 2 or 3 months.
There are a few treatment options that can be done at home. Betadine surgical scrub can be gently scrubbed on the infected area for 5 minutes daily until the lesions resolve (this is not recommended for those allergic to iodine or betadine).
For mild cases, over-the-counter wart medicines, such as salicylic acid may shorten infection duration. Daily topical application of tretinoin cream ("Retin-A 0.025%") may also trigger resolution. These treatments require several months for the infection to clear, and are often associated with intense inflammation and possibly discomfort.
The infection can also be cleared without medicine if there are only a few lesions. First, the affected skin area should be cleaned with an alcohol swab. Next, a sterile needle is used to cut across the head of the lesion, through the central dimple. The contents of the papule are removed with another alcohol swab. This procedure is repeated for each lesion (and is therefore unreasonable for a large infection). With this method, the lesions will heal in two to three days.
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