The growths are caused by a pox virus; many of them have a central pit where the virus bodies live. Molluscum can be itchy and the skin around the growths may become infected. Although the bumps would go away on their own in two years, because they are a pox virus they can leave a pitted scar similar to a chicken pox scar if left untreated.
At Florida Skin Center, we have many different treatment options for patients with Molluscum Contagiosum including chemical treatments, liquid nitrogen treatments, and topical prescription medications. The two most common in office treatments are canthacur and liquid nitrogen.
- Canthacur, a blistering agent made from beetles, is applied with a wooden applicator to the skin growth. The medicine is then washed off in 4 to 6 minutes. A small blister usually forms within a few hours to one day. With each treatment, the molluscum gets smaller and smaller until they eventually resolve. This treatment is useful because the application is not painful... Occasionally no blistering occurs, but sometimes, children are quite sensitive and extensive blistering is seen. Scarring does not occur from Canthacur treatment. Although the blisters are uncomfortable, they are very superficial and resolve within a few days.
- Liquid Nitrogen: Freezing the growths with liquid nitrogen is another form of treatment. Applied with a cotton-tipped applicator, the liquid nitrogen causes the affected area to feel hot for a moment, and then a blister or irritation may form at the site.