Molluscum contagiosum (water warts) is a harmless but very contagious viral infection of the skin. Whitish lesions with a small dimple in the centre often appear around the eyes. They usually disappear on their own, but can also be removed by a doctor.
- Pinhead to pea-sized flesh-coloured or white warts
- Smooth and shiny surface with a small dimple in the centre
- Often around the eyes
- A whitish waxy material emerges if the wart is pressed
- Can occasionally be itchy
Causes and treatment
- Infection with a pox virus (molluscum contagiosum virus)
- Spread by direct bodily contact (smear infection)
Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital
Molluscum contagiosum usually clears up on its own after a few months or years. However, the spots can be unsightly.
- The typical appearance of the spots suffices for a diagnosis
- Curettage (the warts are scraped off with a sharp spoon-shaped tool)
- Cryotherapy (freezing of the warts)
- Laser therapy
- Special vitamin A lotions
What can I do myself?
- Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with warts
- Don’t play with, scratch or pull off the warts
- Use a separate hand or bath towel
- Children with water warts should not share a bath with other children / their siblings
When to see a doctor?
- If the water warts don’t disappear on their own (months to years)
- For cosmetic reasons (e.g. many warts in the face)
- If water warts reoccur
mollusca contagiosa, water warts