Molluscum contagiosum is a common viral infection that causes small, itchy spots that often appear in clusters. While anyone can potentially be affected, it’s mostly seen in children and young adults.
Molluscum contagiosum can occur anywhere on the body but tends to be seen in areas such as the armpits and groin. Getting an accurate diagnosis is important, although not everybody will require treatment. Find more information below on the condition, and treatments available at The Dermatology Clinic London.
Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus that can either be caught through close contact with a person who has it, or from sharing objects such as flannels and towels with an infected person. It appears as small, raised spots on the skin, which show up after a few weeks following contact with the virus. The spots are usually skin-coloured, but can appear paler or red in colour. Molluscum spots often cluster on the skin in groups. They usually have a dimple in the centre and sometimes eczema-like dry patches can appear around the spots.
This condition is more common in those who have atopic eczema. Molluscum contagiosum does not run in families, but as it is highly contagious you might find that several family members are affected at the same time.
Most people with molluscum contagiosum are generally healthy. However in some cases, if the immune system is suppressed, for example through immunosuppressive treatments, you may develop large numbers of molluscum spots.
As the spots are so characteristic of molluscum contagiosum, our expert dermatologists at The Dermatology Clinic don’t usually need to carry out tests to form a diagnosis. Diagnosis can be more difficult if there is only one spot, in which case we may need to carry out a biopsy. This involves surgically removing the entire spot so it can be examined under a microscope for an accurate diagnosis.
Molluscum contagiosum usually resolves on its own, however this can take a long time (between 6 and 18 months). In some cases it can last for a number of years. The spots are prone to inflammation and can become red or leave small permanent scars. For this reason you might want to consider treatment at The Dermatology Clinic. We offer a range of effective treatments to combat molluscum spots and alleviate any redness or itching.
Molluscum contagiosum treatments at The Dermatology Clinic include:
During this treatment, one of our highly trained dermatologists will freeze the spots with liquid nitrogen
In this case, we will gently remove the spots with a curette. Before this procedure is carried out we will provide you with local anaesthetic to minimise discomfort
Antiseptic topical treatments
These treatments include iodine solution and hydrogen peroxide cream
These contain salicylic acid and are applied directly onto the spots to reduce their visibility
If you have molluscum spots on your eyelids, we can refer you to an eye specialist for treatment.
Please note that our dermatologists always take into consideration your age before treating molluscum spots. Many treatments for this condition can cause discomfort and as the spots will eventually resolve on their own, it is often better to avoid non-essential treatment. This is especially true for children. It is also important to note than some treatments can increase the risk of scarring and there is no evidence to suggest that any one treatment is more effective than another.
Our dermatology experts strongly advise against squeezing molluscum spots as this can lead to scarring. If you are infected with molluscum contagiosum, try to stick to your own bedding, clothing, towels and flannels to avoid passing the virus on to other people. When you visit The Dermatology Clinic for a consultation, we will give you plenty of self-care tips and advice, as well as providing the most appropriate treatment option for you.
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