Dermatology A to Z



Molluscum Contagiosum is a viral infection primarily seen in children and young adults. The lesions are firm domed-shaped papules with a central depression. The virus is spread by direct contact. The disease is self-limited and will clear spontaneously in 3 months to 3 years. In young adults, the lesions often occur in the genital area and are spread sexually. In children, the lesions are often on the head and neck area and are spread by direct contact. Molluscum can heal leaving little chicken pox-like scars.


Since the disease is benign and self-limited, therapy should not be overly aggressive or result in significant scars or severe pain. Treatment of a few lesions may induce immunity and result in the disappearance of all lesions.

1. Vesicant agents (Cantharone)- may be carefully painted on each or a few lesions painlessly. A small blister will appear in a few hours. Treatments can be repeated within 2-4 weeks.

2. Curettage- the lesions may be scraped off the skin. This is more effective, but also more painful and may leave small scars.

3. Cryotherapy- freezing lesions

4. Retin-A- topical use may help shrink the lesions and speed healing.

5. Aldara- An immune modulator, this topical cream can stimulate an immune reaction in 4-6 weeks.