This viral rash appears as very small, well-defined pearly bumps on the skin. Each bump may be red around the perimeter and have a dimple in the center. Molluscum contagiosum is spread through direct contact with individuals who have the virus in their skin and via objects that are contaminated. The rash usually appears on the upper body (face, trunk, and arms). It typically affects children under the age of 11.
Unlike many skin rashes, this one does not generally cause itching or pain. However, if the bumps are rubbed by clothing or skin-on-skin friction they may become irritated. These bumps will typically resolve on their own; but the complete healing process for all lesions may take more than 6 months. The Molluscum virus is contagious only as long as the rash is present.
If the rash is irritated, bleeding, infected, or located on an area of the body where it is causing social embarrassment, the bumps can be removed by a dermatologist. Surgical treatments include:
- Cryosurgery (freezing the lesions with liquid nitrogen)
- Curettage and electrodessication (surgical removal by burning and cutting)
There are also topical treatments such as:
- Aldara (Imiquimod)
- Salicylic acid
- Podophyllin toxin (often used to treat warts)
- Trichloroacetic acid (used in chemical peels)
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