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Molluscum contagiosum is characterized by the appearance of pearly white to flesh-colored papules. Close inspection of each lesion usually reveals a slight depression (umbilication). The disorder is spread by skin-to-skin contact, and most commonly occurs in children, with lesions typically involving the face, trunk, and arms. In sexually active adults, molluscum are spread during sexual activity, and the lesions tend to localize to the upper thighs, lower abdomen, and genitals.
The cause of molluscum contagiosum is a virus.
Molluscum will eventually disappear spontaneously, although persistence for over six months is not unusual. Because they are indeed contagious and often cosmetically unacceptable, treatment may be instituted early in their course. Molluscum can be physically removed in a doctor’s office or treated with liquid nitrogen cryosurgery or the blistering agent Cantharone. Topical at-home remedies such as Aldara, Retin-A, and Tazorac may hasten resolution.