Molluscum contagiosum is a prevalent skin disease that most commonly affects children.

The cause of this skin disease is due to a virus and can spread from person to person.

It most commonly presents as pink or flesh-colored bumps that can appear anywhere on the skin.

The characteristic bumps of molluscum generally appear about six to seven weeks after contact with the virus. They often present as painless bumps that have a slight dimple, termed umbilication, in the center.

These bumps can occur anywhere on the body. The bumps also may sometimes itch, and the umbilicated area may be filled with a thick substance that appears “cheesy.”

As stated previously, children are most commonly affected with the virus. It also tends to be more prevalent in tropical climates.

Children who have atopic dermatitis (eczema) are also at an increased risk of getting molluscum.

The two ways this condition develops are through touching something that is infected with the virus and direct skin-to-skin contact.

It is important to note that once infected with the virus, it can spread to other parts of the body by scratching or manipulating the bumps.

Treatment options for molluscum help to prevent the virus from spreading to other parts of the body as well as other individuals.

The bumps of molluscum often go away without treatment although this may take some time.

Topical application with a blistering solution chemical compound named cantharidin is the most common treatment, particularly in children, as it does not cause pain.

Other treatment options include cryosurgery, curettage, topical imiquimod and topical retinoids.

Molluscum contagiosum can remain contagious until resolution of all bumps. Treatment generally takes two to four months to obtain complete clearance.

Mandy Medlin, MSPAS, PA-C sees patients at the Bluffton office of May River Dermatology.