CofC Logo

Molluscum Contagiosum (MC)

What is molluscum?

 Molluscum
Molluscum
Molluscum
Molluscum
Molluscum
Molluscum

Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a skin infection caused by a virus. Molluscum causes small bumps to appear on the skin. Most of them are less than half an inch in diameter. They have a hard white core. Some lesions have a small dent or dimple in the center. The lesions are the same color as normal skin, but they look waxy. They usually don't hurt or itch.

How does molluscum spread?

Molluscum can be spread by direct skin contact. It often spreads through sexual activity. It can infect any part of the skin, but it is especially common on the face or in the groin and pubic areas. Children in day care centers may contract molluscum on their arms from contact with each other. Shaving can spread it.

How do I know if I have molluscum?

An experienced health care provider can easily identify molluscum lesions. There are only one or two other infections that cause skin problems that look at all similar to molluscum.

How is molluscum treated?

Molluscum lesions are treated the same way as warts. They will also resolve with no treatment. Sometimes the lesions return and need to be treated again. They can be frozen with liquid CO2. This is the most common method of treatment.

Be careful not to scratch the lesions or to cut them while shaving. Some doctors think that using an electric shaver helps prevent the spread of molluscum.

Source: Adapted from the University of South Carolina Student Health Services