What are the best home treatments for molluscum contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin condition that causes the warts to resemble small, flesh-colored, painless bumps. Scratching or scratching at the bumps will cause the spread of infection. Molluscum contagiosum is most common in children but can affect adults as well.

Molluscum contagiosum will have a major impact on the quality of life of about 1 in 10 children with this condition, according to studies.

In most cases it will fix molluscum contagiosum within 12 months. During this time home remedies can relieve the symptoms. Read on to discover some of the most powerful molluscan contagiosum remedies.

Home remedies for molluscum contagiosum

At-home molluscum contagiosum remedies may alleviate pain, scratching and tingling while the bumps are present. They’re unlikely to cure the disease though.

Popular home remedies include:

Colloidal oatmeal baths

colloidal oatmeal bath
A colloidal oatmeal bath may reduce the symptoms of molluscum contagiosum.

A colloidal bath of the oatmeal can effectively relieve the symptoms of many skin conditions.

The oatmeal contains fatty acids which decrease inflammation of the skin.

People in drugstores can buy colloidal oatmeal, or make their own by grinding normal, old-fashioned oats in a food processor until they make a fine powder.

Add 1 cup of oatmeal to a tub of lukewarm water to form a colloidal oatmeal bath.

Soak in the tub for 10–15 minutes then pat the dry skin gently.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a common home remedy although research is lacking to confirm its effectiveness. Apply raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) to areas of itching or tingling skin using a clean cotton swab. Hold the swab on hold with a bandage for several hours.

People with sensitive skin may need to dilute the ACV before applying it with a bit of water. If it causes discomfort, immediately remove the swab, and wash the skin gently.

Tea tree oil and iodine

Tea tree oil has antiseptic properties and can soothe itchy skin and it has inflamed. Iodine helps to suppress skin germs and people use it to treat a number of skin conditions.

A 2012 study of molluscum contagiosum children showed that the majority of those who used a mixture of tea tree oil and iodine saw a reduction in the number of skin lesions by more than 90 per cent. Following 30 days of twice-daily therapy, they obtained those tests.

Because tea tree oil can cause a skin reaction in some people, it is important to perform a patch test before applying it to a larger skin region. If 24 hours pass without any reaction, then use should be safe. Always take oil from tea tree.

Australian lemon myrtle oil

The essential oil which can effectively treat molluscum contagiosum is Australian lemon myrtle oil.

The findings of a small study with this condition in children show that applying an oil 10 percent solution once a day for 21 days will minimize lesions by more than 90 percent.

Other essential oils

Other essential oils which display antiviral properties that reduce itching, tingling, and skin bumps appearance. Those refer to:

  • neem oil
  • eucalyptus
  • thyme
  • lavender oil
  • oil of oregano

Blend with a carrier oil several drops of one or more of these oils, such as coconut or jojoba oil. Blend 12 drops of essential oil with a fluid ounce of carrier oil for a 2 per cent dilution. Spray once to twice daily on the face.

It is important that a patch check is always carried out before any new essential oil is used on the skin.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is abundant in fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties. The oil coats the skin and prevents drying out. Many people with molluscum contagiosum find relief after pure coconut oil is applied to the bumps.

For this skin condition people may use coconut oil once a day. It can be particularly beneficial to apply the oil after a bath of colloidal acid or to mix it with an essential oil.

Boost immune function

When molluscum contagiosum is serious or persistent, this means the immune system fails to fight the virus. People can try the following to improve immune function:

  • eating a balanced diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthful fats
  • avoiding sugar, refined grains, and fatty and processed foods
  • trying probiotic foods or supplements
  • exercising regularly
  • reducing stress through meditation, mindfulness, and yoga
  • sleeping for 7–9 hours a night
  • seeking treatment for nutrient deficiencies, allergies, and other health conditions

Zinc oxide cream

Zinc oxide cream is available at local pharmacies, and people often use it for other skin conditions in infants, such as diaper rash.

Causes

Molluscum contagiosum is a highly contagious infection
Molluscum contagiosum is a highly contagious infection.

A virus causing molluscum contagiosum is responsible.

The disease is highly contagious, and can easily pass from person to person.

Research suggests that a personal friend or relative with the infection can be detected by over 40 per cent of people.

Molluscum contagiosum has spread by:

  • direct skin-to-skin contact with a person who has the infection
  • sexual contact with someone with the virus
  • contact with contaminated objects, including towels, handles, and toys

Scratching or scratching at the bumps may cause the virus to spread to region around the head. Once the bumps are gone, the virus is not infectious any more.

Risk factors

Factors that increase a person’s risk of getting molluscum contagiosum include:

  • Age: Most cases of molluscum contagiosum occur in children.
  • Having atopic dermatitis: Children with atopic dermatitis have a higher risk of the infection than others.
  • Being an adult with a weakened immune system: Adults with weakened immune systems are more likely to get the infection than healthy adults.
  • Having sexual contact with an infected person: In adults with normal immune function, molluscum contagiosum may spread to the genitals through sexual contact. In this case, it will be a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Prevention

Molluscum contagiosum may be stopped from spreading to other individuals or to other parts of the body by:

  • Avoiding scratching or rubbing the bumps.
  • Washing the hands regularly and showing children how to wash their hands properly.
  • Cleaning the bumps regularly with soap and water.
  • Covering the bumps with clothing or a bandage in preparation for coming into contact with other people, for example, through sports. Remove the bandage when not around other people and use a new bandage every day.
  • Avoiding sharing personal items, such as towels, toys, or clothing, with others.
  • Staying away from people who are undergoing chemotherapy or have reduced immune function for another reason, as they are more likely to contract the virus.
  • Avoiding sexual contact if the bumps are on or near the genitals.

Medical treatments

The majority of cases of molluscum contagiosum recover without treatment within 6–12 months. Some people can have the bumps for several years, particularly those who have weakened the immune systems.

Medical treatments can remove bumps, and prevent the virus from spreading. Therapy choices include:

Medications

A doctor can recommend drugs to treat the bumps.

Salicylic acid is a common topical drug used to treat skin problems. It is available by prescription or over the counter (OTC). The OTC brand, though, isn’t as effective as the one doctors prescribe.

Other mollusc-contagiosum drugs include:

  • benzoyl peroxide
  • cantharidin
  • potassium hydroxide
  • tretinoin

Some of these medications, such as tretinoin, are not suitable for pregnant women.

Medical procedures

If the drug is unsuccessful, a doctor may prescribe a medical procedure for removing the bumps of molluscum contagiosum. Such procedures can be unpleasant, and may require an anesthetic to alleviate discomfort.

A Physician might suggest:

  • Cryotherapy: This involves applying liquid nitrogen to the bumps to freeze them off.
  • Scraping: A doctor will surgically remove the bumps. However, they may eventually return.

People who wish to try either of these treatments should speak with their doctor.

Potential side effects include:

  • blisters
  • pain
  • scars

When to see a doctor

Individuals having any of the molluscum contagiosum symptoms should see their doctor. Until starting treatment it is important to explore the use of home remedies with a doctor to avoid complications.

Potential complications include:

  • red and inflamed skin
  • infection from scratching the bumps
  • conjunctivitis (pink eye) if bumps appear around the eye area
  • feeling self-conscious

Takeaway

Usually, molluscum contagiosum can cure untreated within 12 months. During this time home remedies will alleviate pain.

If home remedies are ineffective, a doctor will consider treating the bumps with drugs or medical procedures.

Practice good hygiene, and take other preventive measures to prevent the spread or recurrence of the infection.

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