Molluscum Contagiosum

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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  1. Liz
    Orange County
    Reply

    Daughter has had lesions since she was 9 months old. Her first lesion I thought was a skin tag. I then messed with it and popped it before I knew what it was. It came back and was just there for two years! I never asked what it was just didn’t pay much attention to it. When she was three I started her in school in the summertime. She started to get really hit and sweaty and one day I saw her scratching her bump. When I looked at it it was inflamed and red. Then there were two huge bumps and little bumps all around . I started to wonder what the heck it was. Diagnosed it myself about 5 months later basically thinking it would go away. Found a site about ACV. Didn’t work at all and it hurt. So
    I left them alone. Got essential oils for Christmas and recently tried the oregano oil on one. I didn’t dilute it enough and my daughter was in serious pain and I felt horrible! Just placed a couple dabs on the infected area. She was crying so hard that I wiped it off right away. Didn’t think anything of it but one of the bumps started to turn black and then scabbed over. Took about 2 weeks after the initial use. So tonight I tried it again dabbing just the bump with the tip of a qtip. She said it was hurting but I let it sit a little longer. Make sure you are diluting the oil enough, I made the mistake twice! Crossing my fingers it works on the second biggest bump! Directs Oregano essential oil worked for me!

  2. Allison
    Boston
    Reply

    My daughter is 3 years old turning 4 in a few months. At her 3 year appt I talked to the Dr about these little bumps I saw and she said it was molluscum and would go away on its own in a few months. Well almost a year later they were still there and spreading rapidly. They started on her underarm but now were spread to her belly, back, down her arm and a few were on her neck. I started to get very nervous as the bumps were spreading closer to her face and I was afraid they would start to cover her face as they did her body. I brought my concerns to her Dr who once again said there was not much that could be done but gave us a cream for some that were getting red and irritated. She said they could burn some off but at this point she had 75-100 so that was’t going to work and would be painful.

    I started researching and spent months trying to find the right approach before trying a treatment with Apple Cider Vinegar. We are now 3 weeks into it and she is bump free! So here is what we did. I bought Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) with “the Mother”-a huge bottle of it. After her bath I set out a bunch of bandaids and broke apart some cotton squares I had for make up into small pieces. She had SO many bumps this process seemed overwhelming so I just started with a small area on her back. I dipped the cotton into a cup of ACV, put it on the bandaid and placed it directly on the bump. Sometimes I could get 1-3 bumps covered with one bandaid if they were close enough. And I did this to cover about 10 bumps the first night. My daughter has very sensitive skin and true fear of bandaids so I was very nervous that this would not go well. I created a sticker chart with her and explained that every night she was brave as we covered her “bumps” she would get a sticker and once we filled her page with stickers she could pick out a small treat. This step was crucial as this process was not easy for her but this helped her be more invested in it. I would also give her bandaids and a small cup of water and cotton to use on her barbie’s “bumps”. They next morning when she woke up I was amazed as some of the bumps had already turned black which meant they were gone and the others were changing as well-some a little red or more white which I read was a good sign and was encouraging to keep going. I then covered the entire area with Coconut oil to help calm the irritated skin but coconut oil and it’s antibacterial benefits have also proved to help with molluscum so this was a win win. I did not cover the bumps all day with a bandaid or anything. We reported this process with ACV every night and coconut oil every day. Once any of the bumps turned black I would stop treating them directly with the ACV. Additionally I started to add about 1/2 cup of ACV to her baths (that she would take every other night) and made sure to really soak the affected area for about 10-15 minutes before we would apply the bandaid. After about 3 nights of the treatment she started to say that some of her bumps hurt when I applied the ACV-if anything ever hurt I would just take a break and apply coconut oil and then come back to it in a day or two but sometimes they would just go away. I read somewhere that someone had more success when they kind of picked at the bumps before applying the ACV-I tried this but my daughter said it hurt so I did not push it and was still successful with just applying the ACV.

    Most bumps would turn black in about 1-2 nights-some larger ones took 3-4 nights max. Some bumps never turned black but instead get very white and seemed to go away as well. I only treated one area at a time, and my daughter had so many bumps which is why it took about 3 weeks for them all to clear. The hardest to treat where the ones under the armpit just due to getting the bandaids to stick. It does look much worse before it gets better. After the first few days her skin was red with some black bumps and I began to question if this was a good idea but she said it did not hurt and the bumps were going away. I am so happy we stuck with it.
    Once the bumps turned black they did scab a bit and some of the skin was red around them. I regularly applied coconut oil to help the skin heal or a little Neosporin. The bumps that were first to turn black are now completely gone and the skin it back to normal-no scarring.

    She earned a special toy for being so brave and such a trooper through the process-but she is even more excited that her bumps are gone and so am I. I just wanted to share my success with this treatment as I was at such a loss and relied on blogs and info like this to find something that worked. Good luck!

  3. Carly R
    Maine
    Reply

    My daughter has had these bumps for almost a year with them spreading from a few to at least 75-100 all over her but and a few on the insides of her leg. Our pediatrician said there wasn’t much that could be done and suggested tea tree oil. I applied this and her skin became very rough and red and the bumps were still there. I then remembered this site and looked up and read what people tried.

    I decided to go with the salt baths since this seemed pretty benign and easy for a 5 year old…what five year doesn’t like an extended bath time? I also followed the bath time up by rubbing the coconut oil on her bum, this was to help with the rough skin.

    Her bumps have now all gone down and am just continuing to apply the oil. Can’t wait to tell her Dr about this.

  4. Samantha
    Reply

    I’ve had my MC for about three months now. My doctor said they go away on their own in about two months but it only seemed to get worse, so after a month of that I decided to use the prescription cream called aldera. It works but at a very slow rate and also doesn’t stop them from spreading, as I have developed many new ones without ever scratching. I’m going to try the Epsom salt baths tonight snd hope I see more results

  5. Abby
    denver
    Reply

    Given the amount of research I did online trying to find a solution for our daugher’s molluscum, I had to share the medical cure we finally found. Her case was extreme – the worst the pediatric dermatologist had ever seen with hundreds of bump everywhere but her face. We tried everything: vinegar baths, bleach baths, zymaderm, essential oils (clove, lemon myrtle, tea tree, etc. etc.), duck tape, potassium hydrochloride, tagamet, salicylic acid, and on and on. Nothing worked.

    The dermatologist recommended immunotherapy since she had too many to freeze or scrape them off. She injected 3-4 of the bumps with the yeast candida in a specific region at a series of 3 appointments 3 weeks apart. First we injected 3 bumps on her back. The next appointment was 4 on her torso and bottom. And finally 4 on her arms and legs. The results were amazing, but mainly kicked in after the second appointment. They just started to disappear, no matter the developmental stage they were in. The ones she had scratched took longer to heal, but also went away. We are now focused on helping her skin be as healthy as possible so the scars can fade.

    I hope this helps others fighting this horrible virus. Please ask for a derm referral and that they do the candida injections. It does an amazing job of stimulating the child’s immune system to fight it off. Good luck!

  6. AAS
    Reply

    Hi, just wanted to update everyone on my MC treatment. After 2 months, I am completely MC free! Because I am in my twenties and very sexually active, I did everything to get rid of it ASAP. At night, I would take hot epsom salt baths (2 cups/bath) and shower right afterwards. Also, I dried off my hair and extremities with a towel, but when I got anywhere near the affected area I would use paper towels and pat dry. After I got out of the shower, I would lather coconut oil onto the affected areas. I also took 2 Tagmet pills 3 times a day as well as Lysine. I developed this routine after spending countless hours scouring every web page and compiling info about what seemed to work best. It took about 4 weeks to see any changes, but at one month, I could definitely begin to see the changes. I stopped using the coconut oil just after a month but continued with the epsom salt, Tagmet and Lysine. Now 25lbs of epsom salt later, I’m back to my old self. I developed red spots on my arms after the first few epsom salt baths, which led me to think I was allergic to it; turns out it was a heat rash from making the baths way too HOT. Just be aware in case this happens to you.
    To summarize: Hot epsom salt baths did the trick. Trim, don’t shave. Coconut oil makes your skin soft. Try epsom salt before wasting $30 on Zymaderm like I did. Be patient and don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results within the first few weeks. Thank you everyone for the input, and happy holidays! :D

    • Toni
      Sydney
      Reply

      Hi there AAS. What do you think about the sea water? Instead of Epson salt bath? I started bringing my son to the beach. Today is just the second day. I let him stay in the water for half hour.

      • AAS
        TX
        Reply

        I can’t comment on sea water, but I did try the dead sea salts when I thought I was having a reaction to the epsom salt. I think it’s the magnesium sulfate that kills the MC virus so your method may or may not work depending on the level of MgSO present in sea water. I like to stick with techniques that have proven to be effective. However, if your technique works for you, comment back and let us know.

    • BB
      Hawaii
      Reply

      Hi, I was wondering if you bathed your whole body in the epsom salt bath? And how long did you bathe in it? Also I was wondering if you rinsed off after applying the coconut oil?

      Have you try using the tea tree oil either?

      I’ve noticed I had it for 3 weeks now and I want it gone because I’m also really sexually active. So please help me!!!

      • Lc
        Reply

        My daughter had this twice. Both times were treated with tea tree oil on qtips morning and night. It dries them out amd they eventually just die. It lasted about 3 weeks. I used a lot of clean qtips, washed towels everyday and had her wear pajamas only once. No tub baths! I have never used tea tree oil for anything else but I was amazed at the results. Use 100% high quality tea tree oil.

    • SJ
      Newcastle
      Reply

      Hi, I have MC and want to try the Epsom Salt baths. Just wondering though, did you disinfect the bath tub after each use? Or is it unnecessary? I have a housemate and would hate to put her at risk!

  7. Garda Collison
    Tampa
    Reply

    See the thyme and lavender treatment – it really works!

  8. A.J.D
    Reply

    I’m 19 year old male, and have MC for 3 months now! About 7 on my face and 4 in the genital area… It’s very worrying seeing it spread and I am trying a couple of remedies.
    Iodine did not work at all..after using it for 3 weeks it only stung and left red rashes on my face which practically highlighted the suckers.
    I’m currently using this cold sore cream my pharmacy gave and also thyme oil. The thyme oil burns like hell!! Especially after I accidentally got it in my eye (there’s two directly under my eye). I’m seeing no change and I’m losing hope..
    I’m going to start bathing in Epsom salts and then rubbing coconut oil, I really hope it works as my
    girlfriend can barely touch me in fear she will get infected too, the positive reviews on it encourages me so I’ll repost in a week and update on the situation.

    • AAS
      TX
      Reply

      I’m 24 and recently got MC. At first I thought it was just ingrown pubic hair, but it soon spread all over my pubic area. I just took my first hot Epsom salt bath and also just finished lathering on coconut oil. I’ll report back on the progress. BTW, Walmart has 8lb bags of Epsom salt for $5. Thanks for all the input everyone.

      • Claudia
        Arkansas
        Reply

        How long were the baths you took? I’m trying to get ride of MC !

    • Jane Ross
      Reply

      My granddaughter was just diagnosed with molluscum and her pediatrician said to use zymaderm, an over- the- counter treatment. After trying to find it at two drug stores, I found it online. Comments regarding its use were quite positive and I am ordering some for her to try.

    • Toni
      Reply

      AJD, any update? Thanks.

  9. SH
    Reply

    A follow-up to my earlier post: it seems like Epsom Salt works MUCH better in the bath than Dead Sea Salts. After posting, I even began taking hot baths with Epsom Salt and it disappeared much faster than in the lukewarm baths! It seems that the heat must open up the pores and expose the skin to the salt (specifically, the magnesium sulphate in Epsom Salt), which the virus seems to hate. When taking a hot bath, just make sure not to scrub his body or touch his spots to unaffected parts of his body.
    I stopped the coconut oil, but the baths work wonders. I’m down from hundreds of spots to nothing!
    Also, Morton makes an Epsom Salt lotion. This works a bit slower but it does not seem to spread it, and can be more convenient than taking a bath.
    Good luck to you! I hope this works as well for your son as it did for me!

  10. C.D.W
    Reply

    Found out a week ago my son has this virus! Doc says up to two years. Also, I didn’t know what it was and put Hydrocortisone cream on it and apparently that is a major NO! It made his 5 bumps go to about 50 under his armpit. Going to try the Dead Sea Salt bath with Coconut oil and hope for the best. Good Luck to all!

  11. E.H.
    Reply

    I don’t know if you read the comments about bathing in dead sea salts, but I found out about it from the site and tried it. It’s for my daughter. We had been battling it for ever, it seemed. The dead sea salts worked miracles! I highly recommend it! Bath in 2 cups of it each night for 30 minutes and you will immediately see results. My daughters are almost completely gone and we’ve been doing it a little over 2 weeks. I hope this helps! Please don’t be depressed about this, cheer up! Hopefully this is your answer!

  12. OH
    Reply

    Hi! I was just diagnosed with molluscum a week ago and it’s been a serious bummer. My sister and I picked it up from an unsanitary waxing salon. SO BEWARE.
    It’s safe to say I will never wax again. My doctor prescribed the Aldara cream, but she said it could take up to four months for it to work! Plus it doesn’t stop them from spreading, so I’ve been using that and then on the nights when I don’t use that I’ve been using tea tree oil.
    My spots started as 12 and have now increased to twenty in just four days. I was just wondering how long the salt baths took for you to get rid of the lesions completely, and if you have had any re-occurrence of lesions since they cleared up! Thank you for this post! I know I haven’t had them long, but I already just want them to go away!

  13. OH
    Reply

    Hi I was just diagnosed with molluscum and I have been using the tea tree oil for 4 days now. How long did it take for your son’s lesions to clear up using the tea tree oil?

  14. SH
    Reply

    I am writing to try to prevent any unnecessary suffering I can by sharing what worked for me to get rid of the god-awful molluscum that has been plaguing me—in A WEEK.
    Yep!!
    The short answer is this: bathing in Dead Sea Salts/Epsom salts each night (2 cups of salt, soak for at least 30 minutes) and then slathering my body in coconut oil infused with clove oil. I’ve been suffering from molluscum for 7 months—and spending hours each day for the past 3 months applying bandages soaked in Apple Cider Vinegar—and the bathing/coconut oil has rid me of dozens of spots within four days!!
    So PLEASE try it—it won’t hurt or sting like ACV, it won’t scar (it’s in fact really GOOD for your skin), the coconut oil soothes itching, and your suffering will finally be OVER.
    I read about the sea salts and coconut oil on this site–THANK YOU, J.B. and Lauren!!
    (Note: I only used tepid—not hot– water to bathe in because I was terrified it would spread the virus. I bathed my leg in tepid water for a week to make sure it wouldn’t spread before soaking my whole body in the tub. I was also scared that the coconut oil would spread the infection. Neither, thank God, did. I CAN’T SPEAK TO WHETHER BATHING IN HOT WATER WOULD SPREAD IT, THOUGH).
    Coconut oil has lauric acid in it which is anti-viral. I bought Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and added 10 drops of clove oil for each tablespoon of coconut oil (had to warm it in the microwave to make it spreadable). I also added 10 drops of something called “Thieves Oil” which has clove oil, cinnamon oil, lemon oil, and eucalyptus; this smelled great and the cinnamon oil seemed to improve the circulation.
    Meanwhile, internally, take Tagamet (Cimetidine), which will enhance T-Lymphocytic activity. I took 400mg 3 times a day. It definitely didn’t make my spots disappear, but it did keep them from reaching mature size. By the time I found the sea salt and coconut oil/clove oil treatment, I had dozens of small spots. (My derm froze the first set of spots—which were twice as big as pimples—and left scars. I don’t know why, but after she treated them, I found new spots popping up all over my body. But the Cimetidine seemed to keep them small; few ever developed a visible white core. I think the sea salt and coconut oil /clove oil worked so quickly because the Cimetidine kept the spots so small.)
    Also, I took Lactoferrin to enhance my immune system. I also took 10,000 IU Vitamin D, Zinc, Vitamin C, Oregano Oil (which has anti-viral activity) and Holy Basil; who knows whether they did anything.
    I have heard that there are four different strains of molluscum and that they look different and likely respond to different treatments. My mature molluscum (the first round) looked like really large pimples, not dimpled warts. This sea salt bath and coconut oil/clove oil moisturizing treatment worked wonders for these spots—and SO FAST!! I hope you try it because I want to spare you the months of misery I went through before I discovered this.

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