Last reviewed 01/2018
Molluscum contagiosum may present with pink or white shiny wax-like papules. Each of dome-shaped papules have a central pit with a white plug. The appearance of the papules may be described as pearly or flesh coloured (1). Papules are mildly pruritic or asymptomatic
Lesions are distributed in clusters on any part of the body.
- in adults : lesions are on the lower trunk, genitalia and inner thighs
- in children: lesions generally occur on the face, trunk, hands and feet (3)
- in HIV patients: there is considerable facial involvement (4)
An inflammatory reaction can be seen prior to resolution of the lesion. Uncomplicated lesions usually heal without any scarring (2).
Secondary infection may occur if the lesions are scratched and result in pustule formation (3).
Larger, more widespread atypical lesions may occur in immunocompromised people (e.g. with HIV) (1).
- (1) Trurchin I and Barankin B. Dermacase. Can Fam Physician. 2006;52(11):1395–1407
- (2) Sladden MJ and Johnston GA. Common skin infections in children. BMJ. 2004;329(7457):95–99
- (3) Health Protection Agency 2009. Factsheet on Molluscum contagiosum
- (4) British Association of Sexual Health and HIV 2007. United Kingdom national guideline on the management of Molluscum contagiosum