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Treating Molluscum

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Q. My son has molluscum on his back. The dermatologist says he can scrape it off but that might leave some scarring. He also said it will go away by itself in about two years.

Is there a natural remedy for molluscum? Two years is a long time!

A. Molluscum contagiosum, a small flesh-colored, pink or white bump with a center dimple, is a skin condition caused by a virus. There may be one bump or many, and children are most susceptible.

Dermatologists have several possible treatments for the bumps of molluscum, but they do go away on their own. Sometimes they disappear in six months, but it can take as long as four years. Scraping or freezing them off may leave scars.

A few readers have shared herbal remedies that might be worth a try. One wrote: "I successfully used Australian lemon myrtle extract ($8) to cure a dermatologist-confirmed case of molluscum contagiosum on my 5-year-old daughter. The doctors were surprised and shocked." In one small study, topical application of Australian lemon myrtle, Backhousia citriodora, worked within a month (Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, May, 2004).

Another reader treated her child with a homemade salve of Aquaphor ointment (2 oz) mixed with lavender (20 drops) and thyme (10 drops) essential oils. She warns against putting thyme oil directly on the skin.

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Oil of Oregano - diluted 50% or more if needed with olive oil - works wonders on any bacterial, viral or fungal infection.

I wish I had known about the lemon myrtle extract.

I've used several remedies over the past year. Pure aloe vera and coconut oil both work topically, though rather slowly. 2 times a day was necessary and skipping days was definitely not recommended. A couple months showed great improvement and no new bumps. The coconut oil seemed better and faster than aloe, especially good at preventing new ones from showing up.

The bump will not come to a head with these treatments. The oils actually seemed to break down whatever contains/holds the virus inside the bump, or crosses the barrier, letting the oils in to kill or breakdown the virus/white stuff itself. The bumps go flat/spread out a bit into a dime sized red area, then go away.

But what I found was way faster was this: Pure Dead Sea Salts. 6 - 7 baths were all it took. Do them nightly, right in a row. Keep adding the salt until the bath water tastes nasty. (Took us slightly more than 2 cups in about 6 inches of water in a standard tub.) At least a 30 minute soak. It's a different healing process than the oils. It brought several bumps to a head each time, drawing out and solidifying the white stuff to the surface where it could be removed, or friction from sleeping at night can rub them out.

We changed the sheets each night for added prevention. We followed up w/2 more baths, once a week after that to make sure any deep rooted infection was taken care of in case it was deeply embedded in the skin. It's never come back.

Though I don't know the mineral content of the salts, someone mentioned it might be the zinc in the salts.

The article was informative. However, the article ended with the description of one reader's "homemade salve" that included thyme essential oil with "She warns against putting thyme oil directly on the skin". How then is the thyme oil incorporated into the salve without it being applied to the skin?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WE ASSUME THAT ADDING THE THYME OIL TO THE AQUAPHOR DILUTES IT ADEQUATELY THAT IT IS NO LONGER LIKELY TO CAUSE THE REACTION THAT STRAIGHT UNDILUTED THYME OIL WOULD.

It was mixed in with the other ingredients!!!!! Essentials almost always get diluted with a carrier oil (almond oil or olive oil, etc) before applying to skin.

I believe they mean that the oil (undiluted, before mixing with the aquaphor), should not me applied directly to skin. Most essentials oils are not used "neat", as they may irritate, but are beneficial in a carrier substance... soap, lotion, hydrosol, etc.

My daughter had an intense infection of these when she was 2 years old. After a year, they had spread to her entire body, including one on the edge of her eyelid that was obstructing her vision. Just shy of 3 years of age, I agreed to surgery to have all of them removed. I don't regret it at all and she has no scars to show for the ordeal (and no memories of it either!). They removed more than 70 of them from her face, neck, chest, tummy, back, behind, legs, feet, and genital area. Sometimes surgery is necessary. She is now 18 years old and gorgeous!

My 10-year-old son has molluscum on his arms and torso. I fell asleep crying the night before I read this in our local newspaper because I heard the only treatment option was a very expensive prescription normally used to treat genital warts and that it didn't work well anyway. I couldn't believe the answer was right there in the morning.
Thank you so much. My son is involved in a lot of sports and some players started to ignore him because they think he has a horribly contagious disease. I will try this immediately.

I would like to know where you can buy Australian lemon myrtle extract to treat molluscum on my face.

Can anyone tell me where you buy the Australian Lemon Myrtle Extract?

amazon.com, naturesgift.com, australianscent.com, oliveoilsoapfactory.com
to name a few.

Just go to Google.com and enter "Australian Lemon Myrtle Extract" into the search box to find the best deal(s).

My 2.5-year-old was diagnosed yesterday with molluscum contagiosum and I felt horrible. We are potty training her and I just kept treating her for diaper rash. I have no idea how she got this, but it is common in children so that describes 90% of everything she seems to catch. I just hate that it is on her tush.

I ordered some of the austrailia lemon myrtle treatments to try and clear it up. Otherwise the Pediatrician says it can be 2 years. Ugh. If any mom's of tiny ones have any advice, I'm open to suggestions.

I tried using the lemon myrtle extract on my son for molluscum. The first time I tried it, he had no reaction at all. The second time, he began to scream in pain. I saw that his skin started to turn bright red, as if he had a first-degree burn. I quickly put him in the bathtub and called the pediatrician and then poison control, and both said to just keep him in the bath and perhaps use some soap, nothing else. Within a half hour, his skin was back to normal and he was not longer in pain. I have not seen any posts on this possible side effect of lemon myrtle extract but needless to say, I will not be using it again!

Another possible remedy for Molluscum contagiosum is cider vinegar applied to the bumps, not ingested.

I had never heard of molluscum contagiosum until I read this post on the People's Pharmacy. Since I had three mysterious small bumps under my bottom lip at the right corner of my mouth, I searched for pictures on the internet and recognized them. I also searched for remedies beyond the ones mentioned here and found apple cider vinegar and iodine, which I had on hand.

Unfortunately the iodine cure required opening the bumps so the iodine could reach the virus; I wasn't willing to do that out of fear of an infection. I tried simply applying iodine topically for about a week but it didn't seem to help.

I then tried the cider vinegar. I made a band-aid out of a tiny bit of cotton, just large enough to cover all three bumps (they were close together), and a small piece of tape. I soaked the cotton with undiluted cider vinegar and placed my band-aid over the bumps for about 15 minutes. The cotton appeared almost dry when I took the band-aid off. I did this once a day for a few days. The bumps appeared to be shrinking. Then I became less disciplined and only applied the vinegar on days that I remembered. The bumps have continued to shrink and now are tiny. It's been about a month in all. I will continue until they are gone.

One caution: While it may be tempting to do more than one 15-minute application of cider vinegar per day, keep in mind that it can "burn" the skin if left on too long.

My daughter had Molluscum Contagiosum when she was a baby. We swam in the pool every day and I found the lesions got soft from being in the water. During our daily swims, I kept her distracted while we played together. Over the course of two weeks, I popped them off one by one. She was not traumatized by me or by having to see the doctor and the process left no scars. Good luck!

The apple cider vinegar did work for my 13 year old but it was painful for him. I took him off gluten and about 98% of them went away. He had them all over his legs, arms, back and getting off gluten was the key for him.

My youngest son had molluscum when he was around 6yrs old. We believe he picked it up from his big brother's wrestling buddies, hanging out with them at tournaments. The doctor recommended getting a very expensive prescription, the insert stated it had NOT been tested for use on children under 12 so we opted not to experiment on our child.

What worked was putting a small amount of tea tree oil on a Q-tip and applying it to the bumps. It was rather strong, so we'd only do it once a day or so, but after having suffered with them for quite some time, they cleared up rather quickly!

Cantharone, a blistering agent extracted from beetles (also called beetle juice) is often applied by dermatologists to molluscum lesions. If you opt for beetle juice treatments, the doctor will apply a minuscule amount of the solution to each papule, and cover it with a piece of tape or a bandage. After you rinse the solution off 2 to 4 hours later, small blisters begin to form. They will scab over when left alone, and as the scabs fall off, there will be be no remaining growths. Cantharone is relatively painless, but can cause discomfort for small children as their sensitive skin begins to blister. Some scarring is expected, but if the blisters are left to heal properly, noticeable scars can be avoided. If your child has a beetle juice treatment, remind him not to pick at the blisters or the resulting scabs.

We had a dermatologist use this treatment on about 20 lesions on our daughter. It helped her immune system kick in and take care of the rest in a few weeks. They disappeared like magic. No scarring.

I have found a recently published scientific study showing a mixture of tea tree oil and iodine worked in over 85% of children with molluscum. An abstract of the study is here: http://jddonline.com/articles/dermatology/1751

A product called ZymaDerm uses this combination along with australian lemon myrtle.

The cider vinegar thing didn't work well for us. It was very irritating, smelled, and didn't appear to do much at all.

My daughter is 4 years old and has had molluscum for over 1 year now from her chest down. She has had around 20 spots at a time. I tried ZymaDerm after reading about it online. It did not work at all for us. I tried it twice a day for almost 2 months but had to stop because it started burning my daughters skin and bleaching her skin around the application spots (which I tried to keep just on the molluscum but some inevitably touched her healthy skin). Those particular molluscum spots are now gone (went away on their own 6+ months later) but her skin is still discolored. I have avoided any other treatments but am considering them again because she now has several spots near her genitals. Will try the salt water baths because they are inexpensive and hopefully have few complications. Will post a follow up if successful. Thank you for this site.

This is a follow up to my December post. I did try the dead sea salts, as mentioned in other posts, and it WORKED! I added about 2 cups of the salt to a large utility sink and filled it with enough water to cover my daughter up to her armpits. I did this 7 days in a row and then every other day until they all cleared. I did not see any improvement for about 2 weeks and then they all started to come to a head and dry up. It took about 1 month total to completely clear.

Coincidence? I do not think so, since she has had them for more than a year with no signs of prior improvement. I also put her in clean jammies every night and changed her bedding frequently in a hope to prevent further spread. It was not exactly cheap as I thought it would be. I spent probably a total of around $100 on the dead sea salts which I found at Whole Foods in a 5lb bucket. But I thought it was worth it since the virus was affecting her socially (playdates were on hold with certain friends for fear of spreading and no swimming last summer for same reason). Now the bad news: about a month after my 4 year old was clear of the bumps, I noticed some bumps on my 9 year olds bum. She said they had been there for months. Ugh! So now I am treating her with the baths. Hopefully the dead sea salts will do the same for her. Thank you again for this site.

What do you mean you had them surgically removed what was the surgery called?

Thanks so much for your informative post. Just one question: How long did you have your child stay in the salt bath each time?
Thanks again!

I want to try the Australian lemon oil extract for my son who has MC, what mixture should I use to dilute it to make it safe for his skin??? He has had the bumps for over 2 years now and even the derm's treatments don't seem to make much of a difference. I am desperate for a better treatment. Do I need the extract or essential oil, or is there a difference? Please be specific, I don't want my son to suffer anymore than he already has! THANKS!

I want you to remember something "IT WILL GO AWAY"

Remember that... this isn't some disease you will have for the rest of your life, this doesn't KILL anyone, it doesn't burn.. or itch.

It just actually looks gross and can effect your love life (For a SHORT TIME)

The longest it can last is 4 years.. hey could last a lifetime

I became infected in the summer of 2011. So I'm going on two years now.

As an attractive 25 year old female, I was extremely embarrassed with only a couple bumps that I WISH I went in for right away. Thinking it was herpes or genital warts, and at first. I began CUTTING THEM OFF! (Ya bad idea with anyone who knows anything about MC) SO two bumps became 20, which became 40, which then spread to my buttock, and back of my legs to about 100.

I'm a massage therapist so I couldn't deal with the smell of the natural remedies


Year One:

ACV: I noticed a change of the bumps turning white, however I wasn't consistent with this method
because of the smell.

ZYMADERM: Made a change right away by making them smaller, but they never disappeared and I spent about $90 on three bottles.

Lemon Myrtle oil: Smells ok, and gives you a clean feeling, however I didn't notice a difference.

Tea Tree: Didn't notice a difference, (I put it on at night and showered in the morning) but wasn't consistent with the three times a day, due to smell


Year two: (I started become desperate. I was ready to try ANYTHING)

Imiquimod: This stuff is expensive, and for me made me sick to my stomach. Its also made for genital warts and increases immunity. It doesn't smell and I saw more of a change on the small bumps than the big ones. If you're paying more than $100 for a box, its a waste of money.

Freezing: This worked for me. It doesn't hurt as bad as you think it, just don't let anyone look down there..It looks ugly. This is for the BIG BUMPS. I had to go in about 6 times, and I still have a purple like scar from some, but it was worth it. With my insurance the entire process total cost me over $250 total.

WHAT WORKED FOR ME!!!
******Coconut Oil: This was my FAVORITE CURE. I'm not here to sell you. I'm here to help you. You can buy this stuff at walmart or trader joes for like $6. No side effects. It doesn't smell.. It smells good!!! If you like coconut.

I found this out by accident because I started using it as a moisturizer. and I noticed one day all the bumps on my legs were gone.. I mean alot of them.

There was a study done with coconut oil extract:
https://www.vmvhypoallergenics.com/skintelligencenter/published-studies/42-published-studies/76-coconut-oil-extract-2-monolaurin-cream-in-the-treatment-of-molluscum-contagiosum

Where 15 out of 28 people were completely cured.. I mean COMPLETELY all bumps were gone.

I'm not saying this is a save all. But if you have tried everything rather than spending $100 on people trying to sell you stuff. Try coconut oil.

I only put it on after I shower in the morning. and I have gone from 40 bumps to like three small ones.

Remember... This will end!!!! Good luck

How often do you apply the lemon myrtle?

For people suffering from this nasty disease. There is only one cure for it. Use AVC. It is a molluscum killer ! give it 3,4 days.

Please elaborate about the ACV. Did you use it topically? Internally? How much? How often? Thank you

Yes I would also like to know what is AVC And how often is it used? How long does it takes to work

You probably no longer use this, but if you do happen to see this, I'm in a very similar situation and I am feeling desperate and depressed. If you have anymore info of how to get rid of it, or ANYTHING please please reply.

We had this same problem with our kids a few years ago. The derm prescribed low dose Retin-A to dab onto each wart every night, to irritate it into dying. It took a long time, and after a while it looked like I was holding cigarettes to my girl's skin! Round angry red marks that looked like burns. Irritate indeed! Many tears! After she got rid of them (2-3 months), sure enough, my son broke out. I started using teat tree oil. It too irritated them, and did irritate the skin though not as bad as the Retin-a. And they cleared up in half the time.

Also made sure to spray out the tub with vinegar between their baths, no baths together, no sharing towels, fresh towels every day. These spread from person to person like wildfire! Esp kids.

Looking back, I probably would have done the bath with dead sea salts, then stirred up a mix of coconut oil with some tea tree oil, thyme and lavender oil. I think this might have been quicker.

Make sure to cover the blisters and healing warts with sunscreen, as they can scar when exposed to sun as they are healing.

Good luck!

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