Little bumps are appearing on your skin. They don’t seem to hurt much, but more keep showing up. At first, you thought they were pimples, but now you think they might be contagious water warts. No one seems to know how to get rid the bumps before they infect more of your skin. How did you get them? Can you remove them like any other wart? Will they come back like other warts do? Look no further. We have the answers to your questions here.
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Is Molluscum Contagiosum the Same As Water Warts?
Water wart is an informal name for molluscum contagiosum, which is a contagious skin condition. Although the growths are often called water warts, they are not true warts. Molluscum contagiosum first appears tiny bumps on your skin. Dell wart is another name for the condition, because the little bumps have a dent, or dell, in their center.
You may have one bump, or you may have groups of dozens.
The bumps can grow on your:
Sexually active adults may also have molluscum contagiosum growths in their genital regions.
Molluscum contagiosum bumps result from exposure to the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV). The virus spreads via skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual.
MCV can also live on items like:
Any personal grooming item can spread MCV.
Am I The Only One?
Water warts infect millions of people worldwide, but they’re most common in children and young adults. The lesions are usually painless, but can be itchy. Some individuals may develop eczema near their bumps. Water warts are different than other skin warts, as explained here.
Molluscum bumps are generally not serious and will often disappear without treatment. However, many individuals choose treatment because they are contagious until the bumps are completely gone, which can take from a few months to several years.
How Is It Identified?
Molluscum contagiosum bumps can sometimes be confused with pimples. The smallest are the size of pin head. Larger bumps rarely exceed one-fourth inch in diameter.
The first bumps are:
- Shiny pink, white, or flesh-colored.
- Smooth and firm to the touch.
- Dome-shaped, with a dent in the center.
- Filled with a waxy center.
If you scratch or irritate the bumps, they can easily become inflamed and infected. You will also spread the virus to healthy skin.
How Do They Grow?
Molluscum contagiosum bumps change in appearance during three stages of growth. It takes about two weeks to progress from the initial small bumps to larger lesions. The centers become filled with pus. Do not attempt to break the pustules or drain them, as that will further infect you with molluscum. During the third stage, the skin breaks and the pus erupts, leaving you with an open sore.
Until the sores heal, you are at risk for secondary infections, so it’s essential that you keep the area clean and dry.
Are Water Warts Painful?
Water warts are not painful for most people. They can be itchy, and if you scratch them, they can swell and become inflamed. That can make them hurt. Some individuals develop skin rashes around the bumps which can make them feel like their skin is burning.
If the lesions become infected, especially during the healing stage after the pustules have burst, they will be painful. You will likely need professional health care if that happens.
The molluscum contagiosum virus often isn’t a serious problem in individuals who are otherwise healthy. However, a MCV infection is far worse in people who also have a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Those victims will have much larger bumps, and their growths will be on their faces more so than in other areas. Most treatments are ineffective for them.
Individuals who have weak immune systems for other reasons, such as chemo, will also experience larger bumps and difficulty in healing from molluscum infections.
How Does the Infection Spread?
MCV causes water warts. Like most viral infections, water warts are very contagious. Children are especially vulnerable, partly because of play that includes physical contact with other children and sharing toys. Additionally, their immune systems are not fully developed yet, so they are unable to repel MCV if exposed to it.
The virus enters the skin through cuts, scratches, and abrasions, some so small you may not see them. Children often have many breaks in their skin, and they are usually unable to resist scratching an itchy bump. This makes youngsters easy prey for water warts, and the infection is soon spread from one part of their bodies to other parts. You can learn more about the other kinds of warts on kids in this article.
How Do Adults Get Water Warts?
Water warts in adults result from skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or by contact with an object that an infected person has used. Although water warts can grow anywhere on your body, as an adult you will often find them infecting your genitalia and inner thighs.
You may also acquire water warts through autoinoculation. That means you had a molluscum bump somewhere on your body that you touched. You transmitted the virus to the next part of your body that you touched. Transmission by autoinoculation is true also for warts. As explained in this article, a wart on elbow can appear if you’ve touched it after touching another wart.
Bumps On My Face
A molluscum bump or water wart on your face requires extra care. If you shave or exfoliate, you potentially remove the surface of the lesion. That releases the virus, and it can infect nearby skin. Smoothing on cosmetics can also spread the virus.
Choose any removal products very carefully, as some are harsh and will scar your sensitive facial skin. More than any thing else, you must avoid picking at the bumps or trying to squeeze them.
Is Molluscum Contagiosum the Same As Other Warts?
Molluscum contagiosum and warts are two very different infections, although they have some characteristics in common.
- They are caused by a virus.
- They are contagious.
- They are usually benign.
- They will disappear without treatment.
- They respond to the same treatments when needed.
- They are transmitted via touch.
- Warts are caused by HPV; molluscum bumps are caused by MCV.
- Some HPV types can lead to cancer; MCV is never malignant.
- There are several kinds of warts, but only one kind of molluscum.
- Warts have a rough surface; molluscum bumps are smooth.
- Warts can have a greater variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.
One of the most significant differences between warts and molluscum is the length of time the underlying virus is contagious. HPV can continue to infect others long after the warts are gone. MCV is not contagious after the bumps have completely healed.
How Do I Get Rid?
Molluscum infections will go away without treatment if left alone. That, unfortunately, can take a long time, so many individuals choose one or more ways to get rid of them. You need to be cautious in your choice to avoid scarring.
Because molluscum is hard to detect when you’re first infected, you may have bumps that are in different stages of growth. That complicates eradication, as you may need to treat each stage differently.
Try Home Remedies
You might wish to start with home remedies.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil is a gentle and effective remedy for many skin conditions. It is an antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. Massage a small amount on your lesions several times a day. As well as healing the lesions, it helps to kill the virus that caused them. It also relieves any itchiness or irritation.
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil is an essential oil with a long history of healing. It also has the antiviral and antibacterial properties needed to heal your water warts. In addition, its astringent properties will help dry and shrink your molluscum bumps. Put a few drops on a cotton ball or swab, and dab it on your bumps several times a day. It’s also effective when added to your bath water.
- Baking soda: A baking soda paste applied to your bumps works as an exfoliate to remove the surface layer by layer. Simply mix baking soda with enough water to make a thick paste and rub it on your infected skin for a few minutes, then rinse. Repeat until your skin heals.
- Sea Salt: Sea salt is another excellent exfoliate. You can use it as a paste with water, or for greater healing, mix sea salt with honey and olive oil. Massage the mixture once daily on your bumps until they’re gone. Rinse after each application.
- Garlic: Garlic has many healing properties and is very effective for molluscum contagiosum infections. Use organic garlic if you can. Mash the garlic until it forms a paste. Apply the paste to your infected area and cover with a bandage. Leave in place until you shower or bathe. Repeat as necessary.
Use Over The Counter Products
You can also find a variety of over the counter products, some of which are formulated specifically for molluscum bumps. These often include lesser amounts of the same ingredients in prescription-strength formulations. One product that has been successful for many is salicylic acid patches or discs. You can purchase discs that are discreet enough to use on your face.
Some individuals have found success in dabbing iodine, such as that found in Betadine, on their lesions.
Read all labels carefully to make sure you aren’t allergic to any of the ingredients. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, ensure that the products won’t harm your baby.
Professional Treatment Options
Many individuals choose medical treatment because it will remove their growths quicker than home remedies or over the counter products.
Question your doctor about:
- Potential for scarring.
- Side effects.
Other considerations include your age, the location of your growths, and your overall health.
Your doctor has several basic methods of treating your growths, including:
Each of these has advantages and disadvantages. You may have to have repeat treatments or try more than one method.
Molloscum contagiosum bumps can be excised, or cut out. They may also be frozen off with liquid nitrogen. Both methods can be painful and may leave a scar. You must consult a skin specialist. You can buy over the counter products to freeze off growths, but the areas in which you can use them and their effectiveness is limited. Never try to cut water warts out at home.
Laser destruction is another removal technique; however, laser therapy requires special equipment and specialized training.
Various acids, particularly salicylic acid, can be applied to your bumps. Others include trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and tretinoin (Retin-A). Salicylic acid is available over the counter in varying strengths and formulations. The others are available by prescription only.
Most doctors regard TCA as the only product that’s safe for pregnant women with a genital molluscum infection. They also recommend applying TCA well before the due date so that the lesions are gone before giving birth. Unhealed molluscum sores can potentially infect your newborn.
Various creams and injections are used to stimulate your immune system, so that it can suppress MCV and destroy your water warts. Aldara (imiquimod) is frequently used with success.
When water warts are involved, sharing is a bad thing. Frequent hand washing and fastidious personal hygiene is a good thing. Maintaining lifestyle practices that strengthen your immune system is best of all because a strong immune system will keep the molluscum contagiosum virus from infecting you.
You can find further details of Types of warts here.