Salicylic Acid for Molluscum Contagiosum Review



Treatments for molluscum contagiosum range from over-the-counter products designed specifically for the virus to everyday, at-home products that are commonly found in a family's medicine cabinet. With all of the different treatments for molluscum contagiosum, how do you decide what is best for you? 

Well, a good place to start is by comparing your different options. When I was struggling with molluscum contagiosum, I couldn't find a site that reviewed and analyzed the different treatments available, so I made one to help others like yourself!

This review will look at using salicylic acid to treat molluscum contagiosum. Salicylic acid is commonly used to treat acne, other types of warts, and dandruff - among many others.

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 Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic Acid is a solution that is used for a variety of purposes. The acidity of the solution is often able to reduce swelling and redness, unclog pores to allow skin issues to improve, and loosen dry or irritated skin. There are a few different types of salicylic acid-based treatments, so be sure to know what is in the one you select before using it.

The treatment we recommend is a salicylic acid skin peel. The ingredients are as follows.

Salicylic Acid Gel Peel Ingredients

  • Salicylic Acid (20%)
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Denatured Alcohol
  • Polyacrylamide
  • C13-14 Isoparaffin
  • Laureth 7

The acidity of the solution is supposed to burn the virus, killing it and preventing any further spreading. 

Who Can Safely Use Salicylic Acid for Molluscum Contagiosum?

Salicylic Acid is safe for the following people and areas:

  • Adults
  • Consult with a doctor before using on children
  • On the external body
  • DO NOT use internally

How to Use Salicylic Acid for Treating Molluscum Contagiosum


The process of using the salicylic acid gel peel for treating molluscum contagiosum is not too complicated. The instructions are as follows:

  • Apply solution to lesions and let dry
  • Leave solution on for 10 to 30 minutes
  • Peel off gel and wash skin with water
  • Repeat 2-3 times a week as tolerated

The process of using the salicylic acid is a little more complicated than others that only require a simple application of a cream or solution. It is, however, still very simple and doesn't take more than a few minutes of time. Also, only a few applications a week are needed versus some other treatments that require a few a day.

How Effective is Salicylic Acid at Treating Molluscum Contagiosum?

At least one study has shown that salicylic acid gel peels can be successfully used to help clear molluscum contagiosum lesions in children. In short, 87.5% of patients in the salicylic acid gel peel group achieved positive results.

There are many reviews online of people who have found similar positive results. People have said that salicylic acid has not only slowed the spreading of the virus, but also has eliminated existing papules.

Other people have found some minor improvements from using salicylic acid based treatments, while others have noticed little to not difference.

‚ÄčIt is important to note that there are many different strengths and types of treatments that use salicylic acid. When looking at reviews and recommended treatments online, it is crucial to note what the actual solution that the person is using. 

Because of the variability in all of the salicylic acid treatments for molluscum contagiosum, it is difficult to predict a timeline of results.

Some people may see results in the first few treatments, while others may not notice results for a few weeks. In the aforementioned study, results were traced over 4 years.

Are there any Side-Effects Associated with Salicylic Acid?

Because salicylic acid is an acid, it may cause some discomfort and skin irritation.

Many users have reported redness and minor inflammation of the skin after treatment. Furthermore, the skin may be tender for a few hours or days after treatment. Though this is expected, if there is any extreme discomfort or irritation, contact a doctor immediately.

After the salicylic acid dries up, you may see a white residue left behind. This is common and should flake off within a day or two.

As with most treatments for molluscum contagiosum, following clearance of the lesions, there may be some scarring left behind. This is usually minor, however, and should fade in time.

Final Thoughts

Salicylic acid has proven to be effective for treating molluscum contagiosum in some cases. It may also be effective as a supplement to other treatments. Some people may not react well to it, however, so be sure to be careful if you do decide to use it.