Molluscum contagiosum is a commonly diagnosed skin condition; it is the result of a virus which affects the top layers of skin. The growths that develop are easily transmitted via skin contact. This virus is similar to warts in the way it enters the body through small breaks in the skin. Internal organs are not affected by this disease.
THE APPEARANCE OF MOLLUSCUM
These growths are normally small, pink or flesh coloured, and dome-shaped, they can become inflamed. They can be shiny with a small indentation in the center. Due to the fact they are spread by skin contact, molluscum are frequently found in areas of skin that touch each other such as the folds in the arm or the groin. They are also found in groups on the abdomen, chest, as well as the buttocks and can involve the face and eyelids.
HOW DO YOU CONTRACT THE MOLLUSCUM VIRUS?
The virus is transferred from the skin of one individual who has these growths to that of another person. It normally occurs in cases where frequent skin contact occurs for example young children, or in swimming pools. If growths occur around the genitals, molluscum may be transmitted through intercourse.
WHO IS AT RISK OF GETTING MOLLUSCUM?
Anyone who is exposed to the molluscum virus via skin contact has an increased risk of developing the condition. Children are more susceptible than adults because kids have not yet developed immunity to the virus.
SHOULD MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM BE TREATED?
Many dermatologists recommend treating molluscum due to the fact the growths can spread from one area of the skin to another. It is common for some growths to be appearing while others are going away. However, over time molluscum will go away on its own and not leave a scar. It can take between three months and three years for all of the molluscum to disappear. Patients with a weakened immune system may find them to be more persistent.
Molluscum treatment is similar to that of warts. They can be destroyed with various acids, frozen using liquid nitrogen, or blistering solutions (e.g. Cantharidin), treated daily with a home application of a topical retinoid gel or cream, scraped off using a curette (sharp instrument), treated with electrocautery (an electric needle), or a topical immune modifier e.g. Imiquimod (Aldara, Vyloma). Some discomfort is associated with freezing, scraping, and using the electric needle. When there are a lot of growths, multiple sessions may be required these treatments take place every three to six weeks until none of the growths remain. Not treating molluscum and waiting for the growths to resolve on their own should be considered in young children.
We put academic qualifications, many years of combined experience, and training in a variety of special interest areas to work for your healthy, radiant skin. Our providers – Drs. Schachter, Hanna, Curtis, Abdulla, Pollack, and Taradash – welcome new patients for treatment at the Dermatology on Bloor practice on Park Road in Toronto. Our team is here to serve your needs
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