Molluscum Contagiosum is a common and harmless viral infection of the skin. It is contagious and spreads quickly.

In children, the condition is quite easy to recognise. Molluscum Contagiosum virus causes small painless, pink or pearly white lumps that can appear virtually anywhere on the body. The top of the lump is indented and contains a white core, for instance.  The infection is not severe, as it only affects the skin and will disappear without treatment although this may take several months. Individual lumps often disappear after about two months, but often there will be more than one lump, and they will not disappear until 6 to 9 months.  However, in some case, the virus can last for up to 2 years.  Above all else, there are no long-term ill effects following Molluscum Contagiosum. People who are immune suppressed may have more lesions and these may take longer to clear up.

Useful Facts

  • Molluscum Contagiosum is a common viral skin infection member of the Pox virus family. Also known as Water Warts or Dell Warts.
  • It is estimated 170 million sufferers, 3% of the world’s population will catch Molluscum Contagisum
  • The average length of Molluscum Contagiosum infection is just over 12 months.
  • Molluscum Contagiosum infection is commonly transmitted to other children in the family.

A recent study has shown that an abnormality in the gene that helps to maintain the skin barrier has been closely linked to the onset of eczema. A defect in the skin barrier makes the skin more susceptible to a variety of skin infections and irritations. In other words, this allows allergens to penetrate the skin, causing itching and inflammation.

What does molluscum contagiosum look like?

Usually, these skin lesions are asymptomatic, but the spots can be very itchy or sore if they become inflamed or infected.  However, if children pick at the bumps, this can cause them to spread further since they are highly contagious. (And we all know how good our little ones are at picking at spots and scabs).  There can also be areas of redness on the skin, or eczema can appear around the spots, for example.

  • Small (from 2- 6mm across) wart like lumps; however they can grow larger than this, up to 10- 20mm
  • are raised, dome-like in shape, with a shiny appearance
  • most notable feature, is the dimpled centre, which has a thick, creamy off-white substance inside
  • appear as one to two spots to start with. Which can within a few days cover the entire body

Doctors can usually diagnose Molluscum Contagiosum through examining the lesions. But it’s also possible to take a sample of one of the nodules to confirm a diagnosis.

How is molluscum contagiosum spread?

The virus is transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact where there are minor breaks in the skin and is most common in children. In addition, molluscum contagiosum usually spreads by direct close personal contact from person to person. For example, from family members or other infected children with whom they swim or bathe, or by sharing towels. The incubation period from becoming infected and developing symptoms can vary between about 2 to 24 weeks.  If the condition, was left untreated it will eventually disappear. However, but this could take up to 2 years or more.

Several medical studies indicate that children prone to atopic dermatitis and eczema have more Molluscum lesions that last longer.2,1 Similarly, other studies have shown an association with swimming and bath sharing and Molluscum Contagiosum.8,6,7

Can molluscum contagiosum be cured?

Yes, but it is highly contagious and can be contracted directly and indirectly from an infected person or a contaminated toy or object. Therefore, your family’s overall hygiene needs to be controlled by washing your hands often. In addition, change pillows and clothes more frequently and bath towels daily. Don’t use soap bars, use liquid body wash instead. Avoid scratch bumps and cover any pus head molluscum spots with adhesive bandage or clothing. Most importantly, don’t share towels, toys or clothing.

Some advice and treatment vary from “there’s no treatment” to “it will disappear in a year or two“.  For instance, other options are freezing with liquid nitrogen until they clear, cauterising, squeezing, popping cutting and burning the spots.  In addition, “treatments” can include benzyl peroxide, Betadine, and Burrow’s solution (aluminium acetate). None of these methods are satisfactory. As a result, some can be quite distressing for young children, and leave scarring.

Seven natural molluscum contagiosum treatments

1. Certifed organic manuka oil

Manuka Oil (scientifically known as Leptospermum Scoparium, if you’re in the mood for technical lingo) is indigenous to New Zealand. It is highly antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral making it extremely effective and beneficial against harmful bacteria that live on the skin‘s surface. It is a saviour for wart-like viruses such as Molluscum Contagiosum.   Our Molluscum Bundle consisting of Body Lotion, Body Wash and Manuka Oil are formulated to fight bacteria on the skin to reduce the spread of the school sores (and mollusucm) and most importantly soothe itching and healing molluscum.

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    Molluscum Bundle

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2. Neem Oil

For thousands of years, neem has been trusted as a reliable medicinal herb, particularly in India, where it is known as a powerful antiviral substance. This is known as an exceptional topical application for various skin conditions, and for Molluscum Contagiosum, Neem can effectively neutralize and eliminate the virus. You can boil neem leaves in water and then topically apply this infused water to the affected areas on the skin. You can also bathe with this water.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

This treatment is more harsh and aggressive, and while it sometimes leads to positive results, often comes along with some amount of skin irritation. The apple cider vinegar’s acidity kills the virus and eliminates lesions.

We recommend that if you do use an apple cider vinegar wash over the infected skin daily.  Afterwards, when you dry off, to apply the Manuka Biotic Body Lotion, which will help to soothe the skin and provide an antibacterial cover to the skin.

4. Tea Tree Oil

For treating a wide variety of skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis, tea tree oil is a trusted, side-effect-free solution that can be directly rubbed on the affected bumps and lesions. Use a cotton ball, as with the apple cider vinegar approach, and dab the bumps 3-4 times per day. Tea tree oil can eliminate the bumps and prevent them from returning within a week or so.

5. Coconut Oil 

One of the most powerful natural remedies for skin conditions is coconut oil, which boasts antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. By rubbing this oil directly on the affected skin areas, you can quickly reduce the inflammation and itchiness, and also kill the virus, thus clearing up the condition.

6. Oregano Oil

Although many people think of oregano simply as a spice, oregano oil boasts a wide range of antioxidant compounds, including thymol, terpenes, carvacrol, and rosmarinic acid. All of these components help to reduce the inflammation of the infected areas and boost the immune system to fight off the Molluscum contagiosum virus.

Molluscum Daily Treatment Checklist

  • Wash the area with  Body Wash when showering and leave it sit on the skin for a few minutes before washing off

  • Dab the infected area with Manuka Oil via Q-tip once in the morning and once before bed and cover with a Band-Aid.

  • Leave to the oil dry on the skin for a few minutes, then apply the Manuka Body Lotion all over the skin.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after application to the skin to remove bacteria from your hands

  • If you are short on time, mix 1-2 drops of Manuka oil with a squeeze of Body Lotion in your hand then apply

How to apply manuka oil correctly

We don’t recommend using any pure essential oil on children under the age of 4 years old, without adding to a carrier oil, such as pure olive oil or coconut oil, as it can cause irritation or an allergic reaction.  We always recommend that you test a small, unaffected area of skin with the manuka oil, and if there is no reaction within 24 hours, it should be safe to use. You can read how to do this test here.

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Building the Immune system

Another part of recovering from the Molluscum Contagiosum virus is getting your little one’s immune system as strong as possible. The body will recognise and combat the virus, but not if  as healthy as possible. The role of of zinc have been  well observed in the treatment of certain dermatological conditions like chronic viral warts, herpes, cutaneous leishmaniasis, to name a few.

How long does treatment take?

In the early stages, you won’t see much change; in fact, it is common for the spots to spread further at the beginning of treating them. It takes some time for the bio-actives in the Manuka Oil to act on the immune system and prepare it for destroying the virus, so try to persevere. Remember, Molluscum Contagiosum is not harmful, just unsightly. So keep working on the twice-daily application of a little Manuka oil and Body Lotion and spread it over the spots. It does not need to be rubbed into the skin.

Once the body starts attacking the Molluscum you might see redness, some swelling, crusting and maybe even drainage of the area. This is the ‘beginning of the end’ sign and means the bumps are clearing. It may take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months to clear once this inflammation response is seen. Definitely, talk with your doctor if there is any concern.

How to stop the spread?

  • Encouraging your child not to scratch or rub at the bumps
  • Encouraging your child to wash their hands regularly using antibacterial wash
  • Avoid bathes (and towel sharing), a quick shower is best since the virus loves moisture
  •  Continue using antibacterial creams until all signs of molluscum have  gone
  • It is best to keep the child away from people who are on chemotherapy or otherwise immunocompromised
  • Avoid direct skin contact with molluscum contagiosum bumps and ensure that all growths are covered with clothing (long sleeves) or a watertight bandage if your child is participating in group activities where the risk of transferring the virus is high
  • Do a separate wash (all towels, clothes and bedding) with hot water, a cup of vinegar, and three drops of Manuka Oil to help kill the virus, which will survive a cold wash cycle.

What about popping the molluscum contagiosum?

When you pop Molluscum Contagiosum bumps, the skin is broken, exposing the inside of the bump. If you have done this before, you may have noticed a white gooey substance. It is where the virus is contained and is the most contagious part.

Above all, it is very risky to pop your bumps and expose your body to the most contagious part of the disease. Doing so may cause the virus to spread, and more bumps may appear. It will not eliminate your Molluscum Contagiosum and can make it even harder to treat and eliminate.

Read our Manuka Mum’s experiences

Hear directly from a few of our lovely Manuka Mum’s sharing their experiences of using our Body Lotion, Body Wash and Manuka Oil on their little ones Molluscum Contagiosum click on the images below.

Want to know more?

Many people have dealt with the virus and found ways to manage the stress that comes with it. Consider joining our Facebook page, to connect with other Mum’s people who are going through this with you.  Do not be afraid to reach out – we love to hear from our customers , and we understand what you are going through. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us on Facebook or drop us an email here

For further information talk to your doctor.

Information displayed on this site is intended for Australian and New Zealand residents only. It is not designed to replace the advice of your healthcare professional. Use of, and access to, the information on this site is subject to the conditions set out in our Terms of Use.

Why Manuka Biotic?

  1. We use the worlds only certified organic Manuka oil.
  2. All our products contain potent antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe and repair the skin.
  3. Our products are 100% New Zealand made.
  4. Our products are made using natural ingredients and are FREE from:
    • Parabens
    • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & SLES
    • PEGs, PABA, EDTA
    • Added fragrances & colouring
    • Petrochemicals
    • Mineral Oils
    • Phenoxyethanol
    • Propylene Glycol
    • Phthalates
    • Animal testing or animal derivatives

Manuka Biotic is natural skincare for the whole family, giving you access to the potent power of Manuka Oil.

Please read the full ingredient list for any known irritants or allergies. We advise trying new products on a small patch of skin and waiting 24 hours to make sure there is no reaction. Any natural product on the market could contain an ingredient that won’t agree with your skin. You can read more about how to do this here.

1: An epidemic study of molluscum contagiosum. Relationship to swimming; Niizeki K, Kano O, Kondo Y. 1984.
2. Experience with Molluscum contagiosum and associated inflammatory reactions in a pediatric dermatology practice: the bump that rashes;Emily M. Berger, MD; Seth J. Orlow, MD, PhD; Rishi R. Patel, MD; Julie V. Schaffer, MD. 2012.
3.Molluscum contagiosum: the importance of early diagnosis and treatment;Tyring SK. 2003.
4. Experience with Molluscum contagiosum and associated inflammatory reactions in a pediatric dermatology practice: the bump that rashes;Emily
M. Berger, MD; Seth J. Orlow, MD, PhD; Rishi R. Patel, MD; Julie V. Schaffer, MD. 2012.
5.The epidemiology of molluscum contagiosum in children; Dohil MA, Lin P, Lee J, Lucky AW, Paller AS, Eichenfield LF. 2006.
6: Epidemiology and impact of childhood molluscum contagiosum: a case series and critical review of the literature; Choong KY, Roberts LJ. 1999.
7: Molluscum contagiosum, swimming and bathing: a clinical analysis; Braue A, Ross G, Varigos G, Kelly H. 2005.
8.Clinical characteristics of molluscum contagiosum in children in a private dermatology practice in the greater Paris area, France: a prospective study in 661 patients; Osio A, Deslandes E, Saada V, Morel P, Guibal F. 2011.
9.Molluscum contagiosum: to treat or not to treat? Experience with 170 children in an outpatient clinic setting in the Northeastern United States; Hatice Basdag M.S., Barbara M. Rainer M.D. and Bernard A. Cohen M.D. 2015.
10. Time to resolution and effect on quality of life of molluscum contagiosum in children in the UK: a prospective community cohort study; Jonathan R Olsen, MSc, Prof John Gallacher, PhD, Prof Andrew Y Finlay, FRCP, Prof Vincent Piguet, FRCP, Nick A Francis, MRCGP. 2015.
11.Home Remedies for Molluscum Contagiosum