How severe is my molluscum contagiosum infection?
Beginning Stage Molluscum
Molluscum begins as white pin sized bumps on the skin often in clusters. Some may have turned red in transition to the next stage. These small bumps are difficult to see in normal light. You might have only a handful of beginning stage bumps or many hundreds on different parts of your body.
Pus Head Molluscum
Molluscum grows over weeks with some of the small beginning stage bumps developing a pus head often with a crater or dell center looking more like a wart, a pimple or an infected hair. Scaly skin, dermatitis or eczema may be associated. This is the most contagious stage and indicates that you have had the molluscum virus for several months. If you only have a small number of these pus head bumps they can be treated quickly. A large number will require area by area treatment.
When the pus head bursts the molluscum appears as a raised, red sore and infection usually takes hold and inflames the surrounding skin. It is highly likely that burst molluscum bumps have infected other parts of the body and beginning stage molluscum will spread. Burst molluscum requires special treatment to reduce the inflammation and heal the lesions.
Your Stage - Your Treatment
It is likely that you or your child has molluscum in each of these stages. Different procedures are needed to target each stage, kill the virus and heal the lesions. If there are only a small number of beginning stage bumps and no other advanced lesions you will be able to cure the infection quickly and easily. The more advanced bumps you have the more diligent you need to be.
Our Molluscum Guide will give you the detailed information you need to treat molluscum in each of its stages without scarring. There is a separate Guide for adults and one specially designed for children and infants. Click here for details.
For more images see molluscum contagiosum pictures including real life before and after photos. For self diagnosis see the Molluscum Contagiosum Diagnostic Tool produced by Cardiff University.