Molluscum lesions are most often only cosmetically unsightly, and will disappear of their own accord. One may also treat the lesions with medication for molluscum contagiosum or certain wart remedies, in order to be rid of them more quickly. Under ordinary conditions, the lesions start out as small, skin-coloured blisters which later mature into lesions which can be between 2-5 mm in diameter. As the body resists the molluscum lesions, they often become red and may itch. Finally, the lesions usually break and heal. Sometimes however, complications may arise and the molluscum lesions may become infected or inflamed.
Why molluscum lesions become infected
The most common reason for why molluscum lesions become irritated and infected is because they have been scratched. That is why it is particularly important to refrain from scratching the lesions. This is, however, more easily said than done; the lesions become red and somewhat irritated as they grow and, with that, comes the itching. An aggravating circumstance that can make it harder to resist scratching is a skin irritation resembling eczema with severe itching that molluscum lesions can cause around the lesions. If one scratches the lesions, it is possible to tear open the skin and make it vulnerable to infection by, for example, bacteria. The type of infection that can be caused by tearing or scratching the lesions is often called impetigo, and can be described as a superficial skin infection caused by bacteria.
Typical symptoms of a superficial skin infection can vary. The appearance of the affected sores can be anything from red, irritated sores to reddish sores covered by a crust. The sores are most commonly wet and watery, but may also be dry with a crust. You can treat the infected lesions yourself by waiting for the body to heal itself, or by using an antibacterial ointment. Remember that, even if it is possible to treat the condition yourself, it is always good to contact a doctor if the molluscum lesions become infected. During the time that you experience infected lesions, you should keep the lesions as clean as possible, cleanse the sores thoroughly and disinfect with an antiseptic that contains alcohol. Antibacterial ointment can be applied to the infected area, but always make sure to carefully follow the product instructions. If the infection does not heal or if it is more severe, prescribed antibiotic treatment may be necessary.
Molluscum lesions can also be heavily inflamed without having been torn or scratched. However, this is quite unusual. Inflammation often appear up during the last phase of the healing process; as the body battles the virus infection, the lesions may show signs of inflammation such as redness, irritation and itchiness. The lesions may also develop a hard or crust-like surface. This phase may last for a week or two. The process can sometimes lead to a worse inflammation of the lesions, and can cause eczema-like symptoms. The rash then becomes red, the lesions and surrounding skin become obviously irritated, and an irksome itching develops. The primary reason for this is that eczema can be triggered by inflammatory skin infections such as fungal infections, bacterial infections and viral infections. Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a viral infection in the skin, and can therefore cause eczema. Why this happens is not known in detail, however it is most likely that the eczema is caused by the immune system’s reaction to the viral infection.
If you experience eczema-like symptoms in relation to molluscum contagiosum, you should contact a doctor. Both the molluscum lesions and the eczema must be treated and, in order to achieve the best results, the treatment should be conducted by a doctor.