Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum (water warts) is a harmless but very contagious viral infection of the skin.


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.


Main symptoms

  • Pinhead to pea-sized flesh-coloured or white warts
  • Smooth and shiny surface with a small dimple in the centre
  • Often around the eyes

Other symptoms

  • 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.

Possible tests
  • The typical appearance of the spots suffices for a diagnosis
Possible therapies
  • 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

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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