What Are Over-the-Counter Treatments for Molluscum Contagiosum?

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Molluscum Contagiosum is sometimes mistaken as a wart. Although both are caused from viral infections, Molluscum Contagiosum is caused by a pox virus, while warts are caused by the human papilloma virus. The wart-like lesions that are caused from Molluscum Contagiosum usually go away on their own.

Depending on the area of the outbreak, over the counter treatment may be sought for cosmetic or discomfort reasons. Treatment is usually sought to avoid contamination.

Acne Medication

Tretinoin, which is found in Retin-A and is used as an acne medication, can also be used on Molluscum Contagiosum. Tretinion can be found in over the counter products in the form of vitamin A in many facial products that promote cell renewal and wrinkle reducing creams and lotions. The cream is rubbed on the affected area daily. Depending upon the breakout, this form of treatment may take from several weeks to several months before improvement is seen.

Salicylic Acid

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Salicylic acid, such as that found in Compound W, which is a commonly known aid in removing warts, can also be beneficial in removing the lesions caused from Molluscum Contagiosum. The application directions of the salicylic acid should be followed in the same manner as if treating a wart. This form of treatment kills the wart-like bump in layers, and may take several weeks. This form of treatment also requires that you remove the top layers of the lesions as they are killed.


There are over the counter treatments for Molluscum Contagiosum that will freeze the affected area, and cause the papule to fall off once treatment is complete. Several companies, such as Dr. Scholl, offer a product that is advertised to freeze warts. These products are based on the same concept as the liquid nitrogen that is used by physicians in the removal of warts.

Wart Removers

Most over the counter wart removers will work on Molluscum Contagiosum in the same way they work on warts. These products are found in liquid form that are applied daily, that require continual attention for application and dead skin removal. Products are also available as medicated pads and bandages, that are worn for one day to one week before changing. This form of treatment requires minimal care, with attention only to proper time of changing the pad or bandage.

Prevent Spreading the Virus

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Molluscum Contagiosum is a viral eruption on the skin. This form of virus is contagious through contact when the lesion is present. An outbreak usually last for six to nine months. With no medical interference, after the viral eruption has run its course, Molluscum Contagiosum will go away with no scarring. But, because they are contagious through contact, destruction of the lesion is advised to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to other parts of the body, and reduce the risk of spreading to others.

Consult your physician for proper diagnosis before administering any over the counter products or drugs.