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Molluscum contagiosum, while not a deadly disease, can be unsightly and painful until it is treated. It can be spread via skin-to-skin contact or sexual contact.
Several home remedies can help to speed up the healing process of this condition and improve the appearance of the skin.
Home Remedies for Molluscum Contagiosum
Here are some of the things you can do at home to help manage molluscum contagiosum.
1. Apply apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for molluscum contagiosum. Though the condition usually clears up on its own, the acidic nature of apple cider vinegar is thought to help kill the virus that causes the infection, thus helping speed up the healing process. (1)
However, there isn’t much scientific research to back this treatment, so use it with caution. (2)
How to use:
- Soak a cotton ball in the vinegar and apply it to the affected area.
- Leave it on for 10–15 minutes, and then rinse it off with water.
- Repeat this process 2–3 times per day until the bumps disappear. (2)
2. Try tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is an effective home remedy for molluscum contagiosum. The oil has antiviral and antibacterial properties that help to fight the virus that causes the condition. (3)
Tea tree oil has been shown to be more effective in combination with iodine. (4)
How to use:
- Tea tree oil can be applied directly to the affected area using a cotton ball or swab.
- Tea tree oil can also be diluted with water and applied with a spray bottle.
For best results, apply tea tree oil two to three times daily until the molluscum contagiosum bumps disappear.
Precautions and side effects:
- Ensure that you use only a few drops of tea tree oil, and check the packaging instructions on how to use it, as some formulations can be very potent.
- Potential side effects of topical application include skin irritation and allergic reactions, but only when not diluted. (3)
- Tea tree oil can be toxic if swallowed; hence, exercise caution when applying it, especially to children. (3)
3. Use hydrogen peroxide
One home remedy for molluscum contagiosum is hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic and can help to dry out the bumps caused by the virus. (5)
Hydrogen peroxide is an effective alternative treatment for cutaneous nonsexually transmitted molluscum contagiosum. (6) It can be applied either as a cream containing 1% hydrogen peroxide or as a diluted liquid.
How to use:
Simply apply a cotton ball soaked in hydrogen peroxide to the affected area 3–4 times per day.
Precautions and side effects:
Hydrogen peroxide can cause skin irritation in some people. If you experience any redness, swelling, or itching, discontinue use and consult your doctor.
4. Consider clove oil
If you’re looking for a home remedy for molluscum contagiosum, clove oil may be worth a try. This natural oil has antiviral and antimicrobial properties, which may help to speed up the healing process. (7)
While there is no research on clove oil for the treatment of molluscum contagiosum, the antiviral properties of cloves may help.
How to use:
- Apply a few drops of clove oil to a cotton ball and dab it on the affected area.
- Do this several times a day until the molluscum contagiosum bumps disappear.
5. Use oatmeal
Many home remedies can be used to treat molluscum contagiosum, and one of the most effective is colloidal oatmeal. Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that can help to soothe the skin and reduce the size of the bumps caused by the condition. (8)
How to use:
- Add a cup of oats to a bathtub filled with warm water and soak for 15–20 minutes.
- You can also make a paste out of oatmeal and water, and apply it directly to the affected area.
6. Apply neem
Neem, also known as Indian lilac, is an effective home remedy for molluscum contagiosum. The herb has antibacterial and antiviral properties that help fight the virus that causes the condition.
Neem also helps to reduce inflammation and redness. (9)
How to use:
- Apply a paste of the neem leaves to the affected area until it dries naturally.
- Gently wash with warm water and reapply when it is absorbed.
Other helpful remedies to reduce itchiness include taking cooling baths, using unscented moisturizers, or holding a damp towel against the skin.
Preventive Tips Against Molluscum Contagiosum
The best way to avoid being infected by molluscum contagiosum is by following good hygiene practices. Below are some tips recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lower your chances of contracting molluscum contagiosum. (10)
1. Wash your hands
This is the easiest way to avoid picking up molluscum contagiosum or any other infection. (10)
2. Avoid picking or scratching the lesions of molluscum contagiosum
Do not touch your lesions as well as those of a person suffering from the condition. If someone you are caring for has developed molluscum contagiosum, it is vital that you take extra sanitary precautions such as wearing gloves while caring for them. (10)
3. Take extra care during sporting activities
Avoid sharing towels, tissues, or other sporting equipment. Make sure to wash your hands or take a shower as soon as possible after playing a contact sport (basketball, football, etc.) (10)
4. Other preventative measures
Other ways to avoid contracting or spreading molluscum contagiosum:
- Avoid shaving or having any skin treatments on affected areas.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as bars of soap, unwashed clothes, towels, bedding, wrist watches, jewelry, etc. (10)
- Keep the affected area covered, even during sporting activities. For example, use waterproof bandages if you go swimming.
- Use a condom if you have sex.
Following these tips can help you reduce your chances of contracting or spreading molluscum contagiosum. However, if you suspect that you may have been in close contact with a person suffering from molluscum contagiosum, it may be time to consult a doctor to begin treatment as early as possible.
Most-Asked Questions About Molluscum Contagiosum
Is there a certain age group that is more prone to developing molluscum contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum can affect adults and children alike. Even the recovery duration varies, with some cases taking up to 4 years to heal.
How do children get infected with molluscum contagiosum?
Children frequently become infected in swimming pools and tubs because the molluscum virus can be found in warm water. Another way to spread the infection is via sharing towels.
Loofahs, pool equipment, and toys may also cause molluscum contagiosum to spread. Skin-to-skin contact with the molluscum patches can also spread the disease.
After a child has been exposed to the molluscum virus, it may take weeks or even months for the spots to manifest.
Is molluscum contagiosum an STD?
No, while molluscum contagiosum is not an STD, it is sometimes classified as an STI (sexually transmitted infection), since one of the possible modes of transmission is via sexual contact. (11)
Is molluscum contagiosum a form of HPV?
Since molluscum contagiosum is a virus from the poxvirus family, it is different from the human papillomavirus (HPV) family, which leads to warts. (12)
Does everyone get molluscum?
No, with proper hygiene and precautions, you can reduce your chances of contracting molluscum contagiosum. Molluscum is also seen in HIV infection.
Does coughing or sneezing spread it?
The molluscum contagiosum virus remains in the topmost layer of skin, the epidermis, and does not circulate within the body. Hence, it does not spread through coughing or sneezing.
What is the home remedy I can use immediately once diagnosed?
Applying a warm compress to the affected area can help soothe the itching and pain. Keeping the area clean and dry can help prevent the spread of the virus.
How long will the home remedies take to show effect?
Any home remedy’s effectiveness depends on the scale and severity of the disease. Some home remedies may show quick results, but others might take longer. You may need to try different home remedies to see which one suits you best.
If you contract molluscum contagiosum, there are a few things you can do at home to help ease your symptoms. There are also several over-the-counter treatments that can be effective in treating it.
If home remedies don’t work or if your symptoms worsen, it’s important to see a doctor for further treatment options.Continue ReadingMolluscum Contagiosum: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
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