Relieving Molluscum May Be Simpler Than You Think

Relieving Molluscum May Be Simpler Than You Think

Molluscum contagiosum is an infection caused by a poxvirus (molluscum contagiosum virus). It is characterized by lesions (growths) that may appear anywhere on the body. Within 6-12 months, molluscum contagiosum typically resolves without scarring but may take as long as 4 years.

The lesions, known as Mollusca, are small, raised, and usually white, pink, or flesh-colored with a dimple or pit in the center. They often have a pearly appearance. They’re usually smooth and firm. In most people, the lesions range from about the size of a pinhead to as large as a pencil eraser (2 to 5 millimeters in diameter). They may become itchy, sore, red, and/or swollen.

Mollusca may occur anywhere on the body including the face, neck, arms, legs, abdomen, and genital area, alone or in groups. The lesions are rarely found on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet.

In my experience, I have seen a lot of patients with it. Unfortunately, the infection is very prevalent but when we are exposed to it as children, we are either immune to it or not at all. The patients I see greatly dislike how they look if they are impacted by this infection, and the main issue at hand has always been how to approach treatment. When you remove it, it can cause cause scarring and might not actually get rid of the virus, leaving the body to fight it on its own.

That’s why a new study on how to treat it has piqued my interest: the study evaluated the use of local hyperthermia at 44°C for the treatment of molluscum. A targeted device was used on individual lesions for 30 minutes once per week until the lesions had disappeared. The authors concluded that local hyperthermia may be an effective treatment, but that more study is needed.

While the researchers used a device that may not be easily replicated, the basic principle of their treatment is something that can be: applying heat. I’m not sure it will work, but it is worth a try! I would suggest applying a hot towel to your lesions for 30 minutes every other night. The best part? You’ll be able to do this at home pain free!

If you are concerned about mollusca and want to speak to a provider, please visit our Dermatology specialists at one of our locations in Middle Tennessee: NashvilleFranklinColumbia, and Pulaski.

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Dr Pena

About The Author

Dr. Pena is a Board-Certified Medical Dermatologist, Mohs skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic dermatologist. Her mission is to educate the diverse patient populations she serves, and their communities, on the importance of skin care in decreasing the risk of skin cancer and minimizing the early signs of aging. She founded Skin Solutions Dermatology with numerous clinics in Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Julia Pena, MD