Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment Guide – Home Remedies, Over-the-Counter Products, & Surgical Options

molluscum contagiosum treatment guide

Molluscum contagiosum is a common skin disease caused by a poxvirus. Once one has the virus, he or she typically will see multiple flesh colored bumps in one or more areas of the body. These bumps often come in patches and will spread if left untreated.

Many doctors and dermatologists recommend simply "waiting it out" as most cases of molluscum contagiosum will fade over time. For many sufferers, however, this is not the ideal option.

The papules, or bumps, that come along with molluscum contagiosum are often physically distracting. Furthermore, eliminating the disease sooner than later reduces the chance that it spreads to other parts of the body as well as to other people. ​

There are many ways to treat molluscum contagiosum. Treatments range from ointments, physical removal, surgery, and more. With all of the different treatments, and one no state-of-the-art treatment, it can often be difficult to decide what is best for you. That is why we created this website: to help those suffering find a treatment that is safe and effective for them.

This guide will go over a variety of treatments for molluscum contagiosum. Each mini review will look at what the treatment is, how it works, who it is safe for, how to use it, how effective it is, and if there are any side effects or complications. 

We hope we can help you find a cure to your molluscum contagiosum once and for all!

If you have any questions, free free to contact us or check out our FAQ section. Note: all ratings are based on reviews and research of the products and treatments. Always consult with your doctor or dermatologist before starting any treatment.

​This guide is broken down into three sections: over-the-counter products for treatment, prescription treatments, and surgery or physical removal for treatment. Use the table of contents below to quickly jump to any of the sections.

Click the section heading or a specific product to jump to the review.

​Over-The-Counter At Home Remedies for Treating Molluscum Contagiosum

​1) Conzerol

conzerol molluscum contagiosum

At A Glance

Conzerol is an effective topical cream used to treat molluscum contagiosum. The cream is made up of plant-derived antiviral compounds that help kill MCV.

Safe For

  • Children over 1 year old
  • Adults
  • On the external body including genitals
  • On the face not including areas very close to eyes

Ingredients

  • Glycerin
  • Glycerin Sodium
  • Palmitate
  • Cetostearly
  • Alcohol
  • Sodium Sarcosinate
  • Natrual Evidence-Based Antivirals

How To Use Conzerol for Molluscum Contagiosum

  • Apply cream to each lesion
  • Let dry for at least 3 minutes
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day until lesions are all cleared up
  • Note: Do not clean or remove cream in between applications

Known Effectiveness

Many users have reported complete clearance of all lesions within a month of using Conzerol. Both adults and children patients have seen success with using the cream. As with most products used for treating molluscum contagiosum, there are some users who found little success. Conzerol can be used topically all over the body, but users should be cautious when using the product near the eyes. It is safe for both children and adults.

Side-Effects/Complications

One of the greatest things about Conzerol is that there are few side effects and no pain associated with the treatment. Users may see slight scaring once the molluscum have faded, but this is common with most treatments.

Final Thoughts

To learn more about Conzerol, check out our full Conzerol Review. Conzerol is an affordable and effective form of treatment for molluscum contagiosum. With virtually no side-effects, the treatment is a safe option for both children and adults. Whether you have just noticed your lesions or you have been struggling for months, Conzerol is a great option.

​2) ZymaDerm

zymaderm molluscum contagiosum

At A Glance

Zymaderm is an all-natural, FDA approved topical treatment for molluscum contagiosum. It is safe for both children and adults and has been clinically proven to help clear lesions.

Safe For

  • Children over 9 months
  • Adults
  • On the external body including genitals
  • On the face not including areas very close to eyes

Ingredients

  • 5X Iodine HPUS
  • 5C Thuja Occidentalis HPUS
  • 5C Echinacea Agustifolia HPUS

How To Use ZymaDerm for Molluscum Contagiosum

  • Apply treatment to each lesion using brush applicator connected to cap
  • Let dry
  • Repeat 2 times a day until lesions are all cleared up

Known Effectiveness

According to its creators, ZymaDerm has been shown to completely clear molluscum contagiosum bumps in 91% of cases. Though it in unclear whether this is the true or not, many people have found success with it. On average, it seems like the time until clearance is around 1 month, but as always, results vary. Like Conzerol, some people have seen no success with ZymaDerm, but this is typically not the case.

Side-Effects/Complications

ZymaDerm is a painless treatment with few side-effects, though some users have reported a strong stench. The product does not burn or sting and typically does not irritate the skin. Some scarring may result when the lesions fade, as with most treatments.

Final Thoughts

To learn more, check out our full ZymaDerm Review. ZymaDerm is an effective and safe treatment for molluscum contagiosum. It is one of the only treatments that is FDA approved and that has clinical data to back it up. ZymaDerm may be a great choice for you if other treatments have failed.

​3) Terrasil

terrasil molluscum contagiosum

At A Glance

Terrasil is a safe, all-natural product to relieve itches, papules, and lesions (hence the IPL) - such as molluscum contagiosum. The products helps reduce inflammation and restores the skin back to its natural state.

Safe For

  • Children
  • Adults
  • On the external body including genitals
  • On the face not including areas very close to eyes

Ingredients

  • Thuja Occidentalis 6X HPUS
  • Cotton seed oil
  • Cedarwood oil
  • Magnesium oxide
  • Peppermint oil
  • Silver oxide
  • Jojoba seed oil
  • Zinc oxide

How To Use Terrasil for Molluscum Contagiosum

  • Wash and dry affected skin
  • Apply thin layer of Terrasil
  • Use 2-3 times daily until symptoms improve

Known Effectiveness

Most Terrasil users have seen improvements in outbreaks in 2 to 6 weeks. Both children and adults have seen notable success with Terrasil for their molluscum contagiosum. Patients with over 60 lesions have seen improvement. Some users have reported little to mild success with the product, but these people are the minority.

Side-Effects/Complications

Terrasil reportedly has no side effects due to its lack of harsh chemicals and irritants. Also, the product causes no scarring. Terrasil also causes no pain or discomfort like many other treatments for molluscum contagiosum. This is one of the reasons we recommend Terrasil for younger children.

Final Thoughts

To learn more, check out our full Terrasil Review. Terrasil is an effective and safe treatment for molluscum contagiosum. The product stands out due to its natural, safe ingredients. If other products are too irritating and harsh, Terrasil may be a great choice for you.

​4) Naturasil

naturasil molluscum contagiosum

At A Glance

Naturasil is a safe and moderately effective treatment that utilizes anti-viral plant extracts to dry up and cause flaking of molluscum contagiosum lesions. This natural and homeopathic product uses no harsh chemicals so it leaves little scarring and irritation.

Safe For

  • Children
  • Adults
  • On the external body including genitals
  • On the face not including areas very close to eyes

Ingredients

  • Thuja Occidentalis 6X HPUS
  • Cedar Leaf Oil
  • Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil
  • Ricinus Communis Seed Oil

How To Use Naturasil for Molluscum Contagiosum

  • Wash and dry affected skin
  • Apply to affected area with included applicator brush
  • Use 3-4 times daily until symptoms improve

Known Effectiveness

Most users who found Naturasil to be effective have seen improvements in 2 to 6 weeks. Both children and adults have seen notable success with Naturasil for their molluscum contagiosum. Some people found no success with the product, however, mostly also reported no irritation or worsening of symptoms. 

Side-Effects/Complications

The most common complaint about Naturasil is the strong scent of it. The product usually causes little to no irritation and most users report few side effects, if any. 

Final Thoughts

Naturasil is a smart choice for those looking for a more natural and organic treatment for their molluscum contagiosum. To learn more, check out our full Naturasil Review. As compared to the first three products on the list, Naturasil is reportedly less effective, especially for adults. 

​5) Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegar molluscum contagiosum

At A Glance

Apple cider vinegar is a alternative treatment for those looking to avoid medicines specifically designed for molluscum contagiosum treatment. This treatment is more harsh and aggressive, and while it sometimes leads to positive results, often comes along with a good amount of skin irritation. The apple cider vinegar's acidity kills the virus and eliminates lesions.

Safe For

  • Adults (aside from skin irritation)
  • On the external body including genitals

Ingredients

  • Organic, raw natural apple cider vinegar and purified drinking water (5% acidity)

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) for Molluscum Contagiosum

  • Soak cotton ball in ACV
  • Completely tape ACV-soaked cotton ball over molluscum contagiosum lesion with athletic tape or band aid onto skin (make sure to completely tape over cotton ball)
  • Leave cotton ball on for 6 to 18 hours
  • Repeat every day or as tolerated until lesions disappear

Known Effectiveness

Many users who have used ACV for treating their molluscum contagiosum have found great success with the at-home solution. The ACV will, in most cases, eventually kill the molluscum, however, users often find the harsh side effects and smell unbearable. We recommend only trying ACV if the above products have not worked for you.

Side-Effects/Complications

Many ACV users have found the solution to be too harsh and not worth it. Because ACV essentially burns the skin, there is almost always accompanying skin irritation. The skin may be red and sensitive following the treatment. If skin becomes irritated after using ACV, you should wait until it heals to continue treatment. Other ACV users have found the smell to be distasteful. The product has a strong scent that may linger even after washing it off.

Final Thoughts

Apple cider vinegar is arguably the best alternative at-home treatment for molluscum contagiosum. Though it also leads to some irritated skin, it is an effective treatment that often leads to great results. Be sure to monitor your skin closely while using the treatment and stop if it becomes too irritated.

​6) Tea Tree Oil

tea tree oil molluscum contagiosum

At A Glance

Tea tree oil is another option for those looking for an alternative molluscum contagiosum treatment. This treatment is less harsh than apple cider vinegar but is often also less effective. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and antifungal agent, and works by killing the virus once it has penetrated the skin.

Safe For

  • Children
  • Adults
  • On the external body including genitals

Ingredients

  • 100% high quality, undiluted organic and pure tea tree oil extract

How To Use Tea Tree Oil for Molluscum Contagiosum

  • Apply tea tree oil to molluscum contagiosum lesions
  • Repeat 2 to 3 times daily
  • Repeat every day or as tolerated until lesions disappear

Known Effectiveness

There are mixed reviews for using tea tree oil as a treatment for molluscum contagiosum. There seems to be an even amount of people who have seen results ranging from a full cure to no change. Many people who have tried tea tree oil have reported somewhere in between these two extremes. Some users reported moderate success but not a complete disappearance of lesions while others found that the tea tree oil only prevented breakouts from getting worse.

Side-Effects/Complications

Some tea tree oil users have found it to be irritating to the skin, but not to the extent of apple cider vinegar. Tea tree oil often results in minor redness and sensitivity. The skin may be red and sensitive following the treatment. If skin becomes irritated after using tea tree oil, you should wait until it heals to continue treatment. Some tea tree oil users have found the smell to be distasteful. The strong scent is often noticeable after application.

Final Thoughts

To learn more, check out our full Tea Tree Oil Review. Tea tree oil is another great, cheap alternative at-home treatment for molluscum contagiosum. Though it may lead to some irritated skin, it is an effective treatment that has resulted in moderate success for many users. Be sure to monitor your skin closely while using the treatment and stop if it becomes too irritated.

​7) Salicylic Acid

salicylic-acid-molluscum-contagiosum

At A Glance

Salicylic Acid is another treatment that many individuals try to use to treat their molluscum contagiosum lesions. The acid, in short, burns the lesion, destroying the virus, and preventing any further spreading. This treatment may be harsh, especially with more potent salicylic acid solutions, and parents should consult a doctor before using it on children.

Safe For

  • Adults
  • Children (consult with doctor)
  • On the external body

Ingredients (in recommended solution)

  • Salicylic Acid
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Denatured Alcohol
  • Polyacrylamide
  • C13-14 Isoparaffin
  • Laureth 7

How To Use Salicylic Acid for Molluscum Contagiosum 

  • Apply salicylic acid to molluscum contagiosum lesions and let dry
  • Leave on for 10 to 30 minutes, then peel off and wash with water
  • Repeat 2 to 3 times a week, as tolerated

Known Effectiveness

There are mixed reviews for using salicylic acid as a treatment for molluscum contagiosum. Many people have found the solution to completely stop any spreading of lesions, and even have seen a complete disappearance. Others, however, have found little difference with using salicylic acid for molluscum contagiosum treatment. One study found a 12% salicylic acid treatment to be very effective for clearing lesions in children.

Side-Effects/Complications

Salicylic acid may cause some minor irritation when applied to the skin. Because it is an acid, the skin may burn which can be discomforting. After the acid dries, expect to see a white, dry solid material left. As always, discontinue treatment if any severe burning, discomfort, or long-term discoloration occurs.

Final Thoughts

Salicylic acid is another treatment for molluscum contagiosum that has varying results. Be sure to ask your doctor before starting any treatment, especially if you are considering it for your child or if you have sensitive skin. Though the treatment can cause some pain, it is generally safe without any risk of long-term implications.

​8) Iodine

iodine-molluscum-contagiosum-treatment

At A Glance

Iodine is a common antiseptic that has been used by some individuals with molluscum contagiosum. Though it is in no way harmful to the skin, or causes more outbreaks, it is generally not very effective in treating molluscum contagiosum as it can not actually penetrate the skin and kill the virus.

Safe For

  • Children
  • Adults
  • On the external body including genetalia

Ingredients (in recommended solution)

  • Iodine Solution (5%)

How To Use Iodine for Molluscum Contagiosum 

  • Apply iodine to molluscum contagiosum lesions
  • Allow to dry and leave on lesions
  • Repeat 2 to 3 times a day

Known Effectiveness

Most people who have used iodine to treat molluscum contagiosum have found little success. Because it is just a general cleaning agent, it does not kill the virus. It may prevent additional spreading, by keeping the area clean, however. Iodine is best used in conjunction with other treatments, if at all.

Side-Effects/Complications

Iodine treatment is generally painless with no side effects. It is a safe chemical and does not cause skin irritation generally. Iodine is safe for children and adults, but as always, consult a physician before starting any treatment.

Final Thoughts

To learn more about Iodine for treating molluscum contagiosum, read out full Iodine Review. Iodine is not very effective at treating molluscum contagiosum and is generally not recommended. It may help overall treatment effectiveness when used in conjunction with other treatments.

Surgical Treatment and Physical Removal of Molluscum Contagiosum

Aside from the over-the-counter products and at home remedies for treating molluscum contagiosum, there are some small procedures that doctors and dermatologists may use to help you eliminate your virus. The following sections will go over the three most popular. ​

Do NOT try and perform these procedures on your own. Doctors and dermatologists are trained to perform these so they are not only safe, but also so they have the maximum effectiveness. ​Trying these on your own may result in permanent skin damage and could make your problem worse. 

If you are looking for an at-home remedy for your molluscum contagiosum, we recommend trying one of the above cures.​

​1) Cryotherapy

Cryrotherapy involves freezing the molluscum contagiosum lesions with liquid nitrogen​. In most cases, after freezing the bumps, they will scab up and fall off. This treatment is usually not very painful as the liquid nitrogen doubles as a numbing agent. In some cases, new lesions may appear even after the present ones are frozen off. If this is the case, you may have to go back to your dermatologist or doctor for more treatments.

​2) Curettage

Curettage involves piercing the center of the molluscum contagiosum lesion​ and scraping out the core (infectious part) out to kill the virus. This treatment may be painful, especially for children. Some dermatologists or doctors may use a local anesthetic to numb the area before performing the minor operation. Like other treatments, there is no guarantee that new bumps will appear after the existing ones are removed. This is because the virus often lies dormant in the body or new bumps have already begun forming that aren't visible to the eye.

​3) Laser Therapy

​Laser therapy is just what it sounds like. A trained physician will use a laser to destroy the molluscum contagiosum bumps. This is often used for people who have weak immune systems who do not respond well to other treatments. This therapy may be painful and can leave some scarring behind. It is often better to only use laser therapy if you have tried other treatments. 

More Information About Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a common skin infection caused by a poxvirus. It produces small pink or flesh-colored bumps with a dimple in the center. They have a waxy surface and contain a thick, white substance that contains the virus. These bumps are often harmless, but in some cases may cause unwanted discomfort and complications can occur. They often appear in a group of ten to twenty bumps, but people with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV or cancer, hundreds of bumps may appear in places all over the body.

Although there is no cure for molluscum contagiosum, there are many treatment options available that will relieve discomfort and unsightly lesions. Molluscum contagiosum is most often seen in children and those with weakened immune systems. Molluscum lesions can be found anywhere on the body, but rarely on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet. Lesions can be present on the body for months or several years.

Transmission

Molluscum contagiosum is extremely contagious and can be spread from person to person, or from one location on the body to another. Skin-to-skin contact is the most common mode of transmission, but the virus can also be spread if an uninfected person touches materials, such as towel or clothes, from an infected person.

Contact sports, such as wrestling, can also cause transmission of the virus. There are some studies that show that those with unprotected lesions can potentially spread the virus through water contact, such as swimming pools. The virus can also be transmitted through sexual contact if lesions are present near the genital area. The virus likely cannot be spread if lesions are not present.

When a person with the infection scratches molluscum lesions, it releases the virus, which is normally contained within the waxy coating of each bump. This increases the probability of spreading to another person or part of the body. The risk of spreading increases if cuts or open wounds are present on the skin. As the virus is often spread between children in school, if you notice bumps your child ‘s skin, it is recommended that they seek attention by a doctor. It is often difficult to discriminate between molluscum lesions and other common rashes and infections, so seeking a doctor’s diagnosis will be the most beneficial.

Risk Factors

Molluscum contagiosum is most commonly spread among children, but it is not unlikely that adults and adolescents obtain the virus. The most common age includes children younger than 12. Many people with weakened immune systems have a higher risk for getting the virus. This includes those with HIV/AIDS, those with cancer, or other severe illnesses. If they get molluscum contagiosum, ten to twenty lesions can turn to hundreds of larger lesions. These people also have a more difficult time being treated for the virus.

People who live in warm, humid environments, for instance the southeastern part of the US, have a higher risk of obtaining molluscum contagiosum where crowded living conditions are present. People that play sports involving frequent contact with others or equipment, such as wrestling and gymnasts, frequently get the virus. Swimmers can also get molluscum contagiosum, as there is evidence that the virus can be transmitted through water.

Those with atopic dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin, are more likely to get molluscum contagiosum due to frequent breaks in the skin. Here the virus can more easily pass through the skin barrier and spread to that person or from one place of the body to another.

Although this mechanism of transmission is far less common, those who come into regular contact with clients or patients, such as physicians and massage therapists, have a higher likelihood of encountering and getting the virus. Therefore it is advised to use simple protection, such as gloves, when treating or physically contacting others.

Prevention

Prevention can be very simple, as there are many ways to avoid getting molluscum contagiosum, as well as transmitting the virus. If you have molluscum contagiosum, you do not it want to spread to another person or another part of the body. It is important not to pick or scratch at any of the lesions. Picking and scratching can cause scarring and can also open the lesions and release the virus. Wherever the virus spreads on the body will likely result in a breakout in that area.

Frequently washing your hands not only prevents you from spreading/obtaining colds and other illnesses, but can also keep you from transmitting or getting the molluscum virus. Hand washing removes germs that you may have picked up from other people or things you have touched throughout the day. You would be surprised what has the most germs – even around your home!

If you have molluscum contagiosum lesions, keeping them covered with a watertight bandage can keep you from picking at them and them becoming infected, as well as keeping them clean from germs and dirt. It also prevents transmission to other people. It is important that you replace your bandages often to keep the skin clean and dry, and be sure to take bandages off when there is no risk of coming in contact with others. This way the lesions can heal naturally and more quickly.

Long Term Effects

The long-term effects of the molluscum contagiosum virus vary, as the virus itself can last for years. If left untreated, molluscum contagiosum can lead to bacterial infections on the skin. Molluscum lesions can also lead to scarring, especially if picking or scratching at the lesions often occurred. To prevent these effects, it is recommended to follow the advise under “Prevention” to keep the affected areas clean in order for them to heal properly.

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