Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus, affecting only the outer layer of skin and primarily seen in children. It shows as white, pink or flesh-coloured raised bumps or growths with a dimple or pit in the centre. The bumps are usually smooth and firm, ranging from about the size of a pinhead to a pencil eraser. The bumps may be itchy, red, swollen and/or sore, and can appear anywhere on the body.


The virus that causes molluscum is spread from person to person by touching the affected skin. It may also be spread by something with the virus on it, for example clothes, toys or a mat.

Molluscum often self-resolve. Provided they cause the patient no distress, it is not unreasonable at all to wait many months for clearance without seeking treatment. It becomes important, however, to treat molluscum that are causing pain, infection, worsening of eczema, or scarring.

Treatments include the application of medicated drops, freezing with liquid nitrogen or gently scraping away the molluscum. Seeing a dermatologist provides access to a number of treatment options that are most effective, particularly for small children. Your GP may provide an urgent referral to Q Dermatology for cases of severe widespread molluscum that are causing your child distress.