Skin Disorders

Skin Disorders

Skin disorders cover a wide range of conditions, some benign, some very serious, and some even a sign of another underlying illness. A skin disorder not only affects your physical health, but also your emotional well-being.


Skin CareSkin Disorders › Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment (Pictures)

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection of the skin. It appears as small, pearl-shaped spots which are pink in color. It may occur at any age but is typically found in children.

It is not a serious disease and usually clears up within a few months. It can, however, last for up to two years. Each molluscum usually spreads onto skin that comes in contact with it. They spread much more extensively in skin that already has eczema or in individuals with weakened immune systems. In healthy individuals each molluscum lesion may last 6-8 weeks. With continuous spreading, however, new lesions appear over time, such that the mean duration is about 8 months, with some infections lasting up to five years. Scarring may occur, particularly if the lesions become infected.

Causes of Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a large DNA poxvirus that produces a wart like lesion. The incubation period is 2-7 weeks and lesions may last from months to years without treatment. The lesions appear as small flesh colored umbilicated papules that are very discrete. Occasionally there is a small rim of inflammation around the individual warts.

A cheesy material may be extracted from the lesions and viral intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies may be seen in the keratinocytes (Henderson-Paterson bodies)

Signs and symptoms of Molluscum contagiosum

The symptoms of molluscum contagiosum infection include flesh-colored, pea-sized or smaller bumps (called lesions ) with dimpled center that may itch, become irritated, tender or painful. In about 10% of the cases, eczema develops around the lesions. The skin lesion commonly has the following qualities:

  • Central core or plug of white, cheesy or waxy material
  • Single or multiple (usually multiple)
  • Pink, pearl-like spots on the face, arms and legs, which can be 1 to 5mm in diameter.
  • Dimple in center

In most patients, however, these wart -like lesions do not have noticeable symptoms. These lesions are prone to secondary bacterial infections, which may obscure or complicate the original condition.

Diagnosis is based on the appearance of the lesion and can be confirmed by a skin biopsy .

Treatment for Molluscum contagiosum

There is no single perfect treatment of molluscum contagiosum since we are currently unable to kill the virus. The soft white core can be squeezed out of individual lesions. In many cases no specific treatment is necessary. For mild cases, over-the-counter wart medicines, such as salicylic acid may shorten infection duration. A person can also use acne treatments, such as a mild or soft scrub when showering, or application of tretinoin cream (vitamin A acid). Medical treatments for this condition includes :-

  • Laser therapy
  • Larger and troublesome molluscum can be frozen or scraped away under local anaesthesia .
  • Surgical removal
  • Molluscum Contagiosum can be treated by freezing (cryotherapy) the individual bumps with liquid nitrogen.
  • Wart paints containing salicylic acid or podophyllin

Tips on preventing and treating Molluscum contagiosum

To help prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Don't let others use your clothing, towels, hairbrushes or other personal items. Refrain from borrowing these items from others as well
  • Avoid direct contact with the skin lesions.
  • Avoid sexual contact until the papules are treated and have completely resolved.
  • Avoid touching, rubbing or scratching the papules. Shaving over the infected areas also can spread the virus.

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