Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a common skin growth caused by a viral infection in the top layers of the skin. They are similar to warts, but are caused by a different virus. This virus can be easily spread by skin contact. 

Treated with Cantharidin (blistering solution)

The normal action of cantharidin is to form a blister underneath the lesion. The blister formation causes removal of the molluscum. On occasion, a blister may be painful, irritated or itch. 

As a general rule, patients can expect the following: 

  • 2-3 HOURS: wash off the medication with soap and water. This is important because this amount of time will control the amount of blistering. If there is a stinging sensation prior to 2 hours, wash off the medication immediately. 
  • 4 HOURS: discomfort may occur; control with bathing and medication (see below).
  • 24 HOURS: Blisters usually fully formed. Occasionally, there may be some blood in the blister fluid; don’t be alarmed at this. 
  • 4 DAYS: Crusted blisters fall off leaving superficial abrasions. The skin may look raw and red. This is normal. You can apply Vaseline twice daily to the open areas until healed. 
  • 7 DAYS: Healed with temporary residual redness. 

Possible side effects of Cantharidin treatment: 

1)  Mild to moderate pain- acetaminophen or ibuprofen 

2)  Burning sensation   use cold water or ice water compresses  

3)  Itching/Eczema – You may use a 1% cortisone ointment should there be an itchy rash or eczema twice daily for 5 days. Over the counter antihistamines (Benadryl, Zyrtec) can also be helpful. If the itching persists, please call us for further advice. 

4)  Post Treatment hypo-pigmentation, or hyper-pigmentation – this can take weeks/months to resolve but no treatment needed. 

5)  Recurrence – If the lesions remain, or if new lesions appear, we can repeat the treatment after at least 2 weeks, or refer you to a dermatologist for different types of treatment.