There are a variety of options when it comes to eliminating the molluscum contagiosum virus and its accompanying bumps.
Aside from the two extremes of "waiting it out" and having a minor operation to remove them, there are many at-home remedies and over-the-counter products that can be used. To learn more about all of these different options, check out our Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment Guide.
One of those at-home remedies that people often try to treat molluscum contagiosum with is iodine. Aside from molluscum contagiosum, iodine is used for a variety of issues. As a natural antiseptic, it can be used to disinfect things, both in and on the body as well as in other things such as water.
This review will take a look at how people use iodine to treat molluscum contagiosum and how effective it is.
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.
What is in Iodine?
Iodine is a naturally occurring element that is used for a variety of purposes when used in solution. This solution is often called tincture of iodine and generally contains iodine combined with potassium iodide or sodium iodide, and dissolved with ethanol or water. The iodine solution we recommend contains the following ingredients:
Our Recommended Iodine Solution's Ingredients
- Potassium Iodide
- Note: this is solution is a 5% iodine solution
Iodine works by killing bacteria and viruses that commonly affect the body. In the case of molluscum contagiosum, iodine solution may kill the virus and the accompanying papules (check below for more about iodine's effectiveness).
Who Can Safely Use Iodine for Molluscum Contagiosum?
Iodine is safe for the following people and areas:
- On the external body including genitals
- On the face including the eyelids
- DO NOT use internally (if gets in eyes, simply rinse with water)
How to Use Iodine for Treating Molluscum Contagiosum
There are a variety of ways to use an iodine solution to treat molluscum contagiosum. We recommend using it in conjunction with another treatment, but you can try using it as a standalone treatment as well. In either case, we recommend adhering to the following instructions:
- Apply iodine solution to each lesion
- Allow solution to dry
- Repeat 2-3 times a day until lesions are all cleared up
- Note: Do not clean or remove cream in between applications
Using iodine is very simple. Just put the solution on a few times a day and you're done - there is no need to wash it off in between applications. When using with another product, you can apply the iodine before or after the product depending what it is. If using iodine along with another product, be sure to consult with a doctor to ensure there are no adverse interactions.
How Effective is Iodine at Treating Molluscum Contagiosum?
As a standalone treatment for molluscum contagiosum, iodine is not your best option.
Most people find little to no success when using iodine tincture as a treatment. It is not strong enough to cause much of a difference.
Some people have seen a decrease in spreading or a decrease in the amount of papules, but this is may be the body's natural response doing work as opposed to the iodine.
Iodine solution is better off as an add-on to another treatment, as explained above. You may find it works well at cleaning the skin before applying other treatments.
Are There Any Side-Effects Associated With Iodine?
One benefit of iodine is that there are typically never any adverse side-effects.
It is a very gentle agent and does not typically cause any skin irritation, inflammation, or scarring.
Because iodine has a reddish/brownish color, you may notice a slight tinting of the skin after applying it. This can easily be washed off, however, and will not cause any permanent change.
Though it is very unlikely, if your skin becomes irritated from using iodine, you should wash it off as soon as possible and discontinue use. It may be in your best interest to contact your doctor as well.
Iodine solutions are typically ineffective at treating molluscum contagiosum by themselves. It may help slow spreading when used in conjunction with other treatments, but we do not recommend using it alone. It is your best interest to look elsewhere to eliminate your molluscum contagiosum.