What are mollusks on the skin and how to remove them

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Mollusks on the skin are a dermal pathology that can affect both adults and children, although it is much more frequent in the latter. In principle, it is not a serious or dangerous disease, although in people who have certain types of dermatitis or who have some alteration in the immune system it can have some complications. 

What are mollusks on the skin and how to remove them

What are mollusks on the skin and why do they appear?

Molluscum contagiosum is the result of a skin infection caused by the  Virus Molluscum Contagiosum (VMC) . It is a poxvirus (just like the smallpox virus) and although it is not dangerous, it is very contagious, hence the need to detect the infection as soon as possible to prevent its spread and transmission to other people.

Knowing what mollusks are like on the skin will allow you to recognize them to go to the dermatologist as soon as possible. The presence of small papules or pimples , hard to the touch, whitish or pearly in color and with a tiny indentation in the center, as if it were a tiny navel, reveals that the virus has come into contact with the skin. The papules can appear in any area of ​​the body, although they are more frequent:

  • Face.
  • The neck.
  • The arms (especially on the inside of the elbow).
  • The armpits.
  • The sides of the abdomen.
  • The feet.

However, seeing bumps in these areas may be due to more causes. For example, here you can read about Why pimples appear on the arms .

They can arise in isolation, although they generally do so grouped in specific areas and in a variable number from 10 to 20, even more. Molluscum contagiosum does not usually cause severe pain or discomfort, although it should not be ruled out that they are accompanied by symptoms such as:

  • The itch.
  • The redness.
  • A slight swelling of the affected area.

The mollusks come out when the skin comes into contact with the virus and the infection spreads over the next two or three weeks, during which time the pimples progressively increase in size. Skin-to-skin contact, with an infected person, or direct contact with the virus, which tends to proliferate especially in humid spaces and where warm temperatures predominate (swimming pools, showers, changing rooms…) are the main causes of the appearance of molluscs on the skin in adults. In older people, they can also appear in the genital area if they have had sexual intercourse with an infected person.

How molluscums on the skin are cured

In most cases, molluscum contagiosum disappears on its own , but we must remember that, in its presence, it is always necessary to go to the dermatologist and follow his instructions. Keep in mind that the infection may take 2 or 3 months to completely disappear, especially if it is molluscum in children, because the little ones will tend to scratch the papules, thus spreading the infection to other areas of their body without realize.

In those cases in which molluscum contagiosum causes serious discomfort, such as pain in the area or severe itching that ends up causing skin lesions, and also in those in which the virus has spread worryingly, or simply when it is intended avoid contagion, the dermatologist will be able to determine the need to apply some treatment.

Topical medications, which include salicylic acid or hydrogen peroxide in their composition , help fight the infection and are the most recommended, although there are also other treatments whose objective is to remove the molluscs from the skin with different non- aggressive techniques , such as :

  • Curettage (remove with a sharp-edged spoon).
  • Cryotherapy (apply intense cold therapy).
  • The specific laser for this purpose.

Some essential oils, traditionally used to combat skin conditions, such as tea tree oil or calendula oil, can be natural remedies for molluscum on the skin , but before resorting to them it is necessary to consult with the doctor.

How to prevent molluscum on the skin

Knowing how mollusks are spread on the skin is essential to prevent their appearance. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid direct contact , skin to skin, with a person who presents them.
  • For their part, the affected person must take a series of measures to prevent the spread, avoiding as much as possible directly touching the molluscs or scratching the area. To make it easier (especially in the case of children) , covering the area is always an advisable measure to minimize the action of the virus.
  • Extreme hygiene, with frequent hand washing with soap and water.
  • Avoiding sharing personal belongings such as clothes or towels, especially in environments with the presence of water, such as swimming pools, are two preventive measures that must be taken into account. In the case of the little ones, avoiding sharing toys or school supplies can also help prevent possible infections.

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