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Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum Contagiosum is a common viral infection of the skin.  It is more common in children, but also affect adults.  After infection, people develop clusters of small papules, measuring 1 - 6mm in size.  Most people only have a few papules, but others develop hundreds of small lesions, especially if they have underlying eczema.  Typically, the papules have a characteristic "dip" in the centre.  Each papule contains white cheesy-looking material.  As the infection progresses, the surrounding skin can become pink, dry and itchy - even in people without underlying eczema.  Then, the papules seem to "fester up" becoming inflamed, crusty or scabbing for 1 - 2 weeks before they eventually disappear.  

There are several treatments available for Molluscum Contagiosum including creams, pricking or squeezing out the soft white core. If these treatments don't help - another option is Cryotherapy (Freezing).  Cryotherapy involves having a very cold spray directed on to each Molluscum Contagiosum, turning it into an ice-ball.  Although the treatment time for each papule is short, Cryotherapy stings and is painful, and is not recommended for children under the age of 12 years.


After Cryotherapy, the Molluscum Contagiosum becomes inflamed and crusts over, which can last for several days.  For most people, the Molluscum Contagiosum starts to improve after about 2 weeks.  However, as Molluscum Contagiosum is caused by a viral infection, the papules may recur after Cryotherapy, or they may not even respond to Cryotherapy.  Following treatment, there may be a small white scar.  The scar will usually fade with time. 


Please click on the links below to read the Patient Information Leaflet on Molluscum Contagiosum:

New Zealand Academy of Dermatology

Please click on the link below to read the Patient Information Leaflet on Cryotherapy:

British Association of Dermatologists

Please click here to book an appointment and to see the Price List for Cryotherapy

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