Molluscum Contagiosum: Not a Harry Potter Curse, But It Feels Like It Is

molluscum contagiosumI had never heard of molluscum contagiosum until I had kids. When the oldest was about 2, he got this bump above his knee. It kind of looked like a wart, and it lasted for a very long time. The bump never bothered him. He didn’t scratch it. It just existed.

At his birthday well-check, I asked the doctor about it. He told me that it was molluscum contagiosum, a very popular, very easily transferable virus, especially among children. Molluscum looks like a small red, white, or flesh-colored donut. It is distinguished by its sort of donut hole center.

“It probably won’t ever bother him, and it’ll go away after probably 18 months or so. In fact, you’ll start to notice molluscum on other people. Even adults can have it. Really, it’s very common.”

Since the doctor wasn’t concerned and since there was only the one spot, I decided not to worry about the molluscum either. For years, this pesky molluscum persisted. First, it was present as a bump above the right knee. Then, overnight almost, it showed up above the left knee. We went for another year or so with the bump above the left knee and no where else.

Then, almost overnight, everything changed. It was one of those situations where everything was fine and manageable right up until it wasn’t. One day, I looked down and the oldest had bumps on his legs, ankles, feet, arms, face, and bottom. And he wasn’t the only one. The baby had them, too.

Why I Decided to Take Action

When I started researching molluscum contagiosum, I learned that it can last for up to 4 years. Understand, this isn’t a disease as a whole that lasts for up to 4 years. Instead, this is a each freaking bump may last for up to 4 years situation. After learning this, I decided we needed to take immediate action.

Spreading Molluscum Contagiosum

Since we were apparently having an epidemic in our house, I started researching molluscum contagiosum. When the molluscum opens, it will probably drain a clear fluid. That fluid can be easily transferred. Once it contacts with a new surface, it can remain dormant for up to 3 weeks.

This means that if my oldest has a molluscum that opens and the youngest bumps against the open spot, it can be up to 3 weeks before we start seeing molluscum bumps on the youngest. Then, if the youngest starts messing with his bumps, opens one, and touches a friend, the friend will also be developing molluscum in 2-3 weeks. This large time gap is a contributing factor to my frustration with this disease.

If you are treating molluscum contagiosum, it is important that you continue the treatment process for 3 weeks past the disappearance of the bumps.

In my opinion, your first step should always be to think about how you may be unintentionally spreading the disease yourself and make changes. Some quick and easy tips for reducing the risk of spreading molluscum are:

  1. Keep the molluscum covered with Band Aids.
  2. Use a fresh towel each time you bathe.
  3. Sleep in clean pajamas each night.

Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment

From my research, I’ve learned that this is not a one-treatment-cures-all situation. What works for one person may not work for others. In fact, my two kids both have molluscum, and the treatment that helps one doesn’t do anything for the other.

Here are some treatments that I’ve tried:

  • switching soaps,
  • taking showers instead of baths,
  • a wide variety of essential oils including lavender, frankencense, lemon, tea tree, oregano, and clove mixed in different combinations and used with grapeseed oil as a carrier oil,
  • a generic lavender massage oil from Aura Cacia,
  • the Healer Stick from Perfectly Posh, and
  • Molluscum Rx.

First, let me say that my husband and I noticed a big change in the molluscum on both kids when we quit using Johnson’s and Johnson’s and started using our Dove soap on them. I’m not sure if this improvement is unique to Dove, but I will say that the outbreaks decreased when we started using Dove.

Then, we went on a camping vacation. For obvious reasons, there were no baths. Again, we saw improvement in both kids. Although the number of outbreaks per kid decreased, they both still had about 8 spots each. And those spots wouldn’t budge.

I experimented with essential oil combinations. Sometimes, it seemed like I would find a combination that would work. Then, a couple days later, it seemed like it quit working.

Happily, we found that the Perfectly Posh Healer Stick worked on the youngest. This stick helps get rid of small bumps on both kids in about 4 days. For the persistent bumps on the youngest, the Healer Stick helps each molluscum drop off in an average of 2 weeks. That’s not bad for something that could last up to 4 years! However, you have to be consistent in your treatment.

Helping the oldest heal has proven to be trickier. The Healer Stick helps his very small bumps go away, and keeps the kind of small bumps the same size. However, once the bumps decide to get bigger, the Healer Stick is completely useless.

We decided to go to the dermatologist for help. He recommended we use Molluscum Rx. Again, it’s the same situation that it may not work. The findings show that if it works for you, it will really work. If it doesn’t work for you, it won’t work. Luckily for us, it is really working well.

I sincerely hope that you’re not having to deal with this nasty disease and that you’re just reading this piece to further your education. However, if you are reading this because you need help, I want you to remember two things.

  1. This tricky disease is not permanently damaging.
  2. You and your kids are not alone in this struggle.

Let’s hear it! What are you doing to treat molluscum contagiosum? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.


  1. Jennifer on August 3, 2017 at 7:46 am

    We went through this with our son earlier this year. We found tea tree oil on a cotton ball, held on by a band-aid to work the best. We applied that every night. During the day, we just kept it covered by a band-aid with no tea tree. However, it still took a few weeks for them to heal completely,

    • Sarah Stockett on August 3, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Jennifer, thank you so much for letting us know! I think it’s really important for everyone to share what has and has not worked for them to treat this horrible disease since you never know what will end up working for your child.

  2. Cori on August 3, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Colloidal silver! A friend’s son was set for surgery bc it was too near his eyes. They used this and by the time of his pre-surgery blood work appointment at Children’s Mercy it was almost completely gone. He didn’t have to have the surgery!

    • Sarah Stockett on August 3, 2017 at 4:35 pm

      Thanks for the tip, Cori! I have heard about people using this to remove warts and such, but I’ve never read anything about using it on molluscum. Children’s Mercy sure knows their stuff, so it’s good to have another tool in our belts to fight this crud.

  3. Nea Hildebolt on August 3, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    I have tried Neem oil to no avail and then before we left for Bali was trying CBD oil. I didn’t know if I could bring the oil to Indoneisia so I didn’t risk it but since being here almost all of Kaiana’s molluskum have disappeared. He has been swimming in the ocean a lot here and when the molluskum would open I would put fresh aloe vera on them from the garden. I wish I knew what was actually working 🙂

    • Sarah Stockett on August 4, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      Honestly, when we went on vacation, my kids mollescum improved as well. I wasn’t sure if it was because they were using Dove instead of Johnson’s and Johnson’s or maybe because they were not bathing every single day. The fact that our kids improved while on vacation also makes me wonder how much of this is a response to stress. (Assuming that kids experience less stress while on vacation.)