Molluscum Contagiosum is a skin infection that produces pearl like papules or dome-shaped nodules on the skin and is common to children. Commonly mistaken for herpes, warts and chicken pox, they are usually found in groups or individually on all parts of the body except the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Although they are contagious, they are not as harmful as other skin infections. In fact, if left untreated they heal over time and do not need any actual medication.
For parents who prefer to get rid of this skin infection to prevent bullying and teasing for their children, they may do so by choosing from several kinds of treatment. However, surgical procedures are not recommended for children since it is quite painful and tedious. That is why for them it is highly advisable to use topical treatments or over the counter creams, lotions and ointments. Here are several treatments to choose from:
• Podophyllotoxin – This works by poisoning the cells of the spot. Treatment of MC is done in cycles since it involves destroying cells through poison and to let the skin rest. The treatment cycle starts with twice a day application of medicine for three days to be followed by the rest cycle through non-application of any treatment for four days. Some patients require at least four to five treatment cycles interspersed with rest cycle. The common side effect of using Podophyllotoxin is mild irritation.
• Potassium Hydroxide – Works by breaking down the skin cells surrounding the virus so that the immune system can penetrate and respond to the virus. It is applied at least twice a day for four to six days. Inflammation may occur before it completely heals and disappears within 5 weeks. Common side effects include flaking and hardening of the skin, swelling and burning sensation.
• Imiquimod – This is usually used for treating larger spots or clusters of MC. It stimulates the immune system to attack the spots. Apply the cream at least three times a week. After applying the cream wait for six to ten hours before washing it. Side effects include flaking and hardening of skin, headache and burning sensation.
• Benzoyl Peroxide – This OTC cream is usually used for treating acne and other kinds of skin problems due to its drying properties. After washing the face, wait until 20 minutes before applying the cream. Use it in small amounts as it can potentially harm your skin and makes the skin sensitive to sunlight so excessive exposure to sunlight must be avoided. Common side effects include burning sensation, dry skin and peeling of the skin.