Alternative treatments for molluscum contagiosum?
November 3, 2009 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Have any of you tried any at-home treatments for molluscum contagiosum? I was diagnosed with it a month ago, and had the existing papules removed at the Dr.'s office. More have sprung up, and I would prefer to try and treat them at home, as the treatment from my Dr. left some unattractive scars.

I've been doing some research online, and it seems everyone has a different opinion on whether tea tree oil, salicylic acid, lemon myrtle etc. have any effect on clearing up the molluscum. Are all of those treatments just snake oil/ a placebo to make you feel like you're treating the virus, while it just slowly clears up on it's own? Any advice would be appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
My partner successfully treated it with dilute tea tree oil--don't use it straight, it will just irritate the bumps more. I think he used 1:4 or 1:5 or thereabouts, with the 4/5 being a carrier oil. They all went away. Then, about six weeks later, I seem to have bumps bumping their way into my life, & thought the tea tree was a placebo, & they are still there & irritating & unsightly.

I would guess the tea tree helps--since it helps just about everything, jesus--but have nothing but anecdata.
posted by opossumnus at 8:36 AM on November 3, 2009

Er, thought the tea tree was a placebo & thusly did not use it. That's probably the important part.
posted by opossumnus at 8:36 AM on November 3, 2009

My daughter had a fairly bad case on her upper leg. We went to the dermatologist, he burned some off, we got the prescription and tried it for a week. Some more came up and the existing ones weren't changing. I had read that the treatment could take months but re-burning my child and using steroids for a period of months was not a happy option. Then I read that breastmilk was a good treatment. Luckily, I was nursing my son at the time so we stopped the cream and started applying breastmilk with a clean cotton pad, three times a day. Every bit was gone in just over two weeks. She still has some slight scars from the burning but the "warts" completely disappeared and didn't come back. The Dr was a total ass to me about breastmilk being the cure but he couldn't deny that they were completely gone weeks ahead of schedule. Maybe it worked so well with her because she nursed for over a year and my breastmilk was a good fit for her body. I don't know but it did work, fast. Not sure if you have a close, currently lactating, friend or relative but I wanted to share our experience. I also need to add that I'm not much for home remedies but that experience made me much more open to them. Hope you find a solution, they are not fun!
posted by pearlybob at 9:16 AM on November 3, 2009

ugh i hate this stuff. got it when i first moved to nyc. it was so embarrassing and i had no idea how i got it given that i wasn't sexually active at the time and wasn't around children either. i have no home remedy advice to give however as the doc i went to froze them and prescribed Aldara. i have no scars but it took a good six months to fully fade. good luck getting these unsightly bumps off :/
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 10:13 AM on November 3, 2009

I read Campho Phenique helps so I used it when I had this many years ago. They did go away although it has been so long now I don't remember exactly how long it took -- a few months probably.
posted by jockc at 10:53 AM on November 3, 2009

Wikipedia suggests benzoyl peroxide and lasers.
posted by caddis at 11:18 AM on November 3, 2009

My daughter went to the dermatologist today for this; when I find out what the advice was I will let you know. We are avoiding any kind of mechanical removal out of concern that the scars might be worse than the lesions (it is not a very bad case, but it is on her face). My instinct is to wait it out, but my wife is getting impatient. I know people who have had good results with Aldara, but it can take months to work (during which time the disease may well have gone away on its own).
posted by TedW at 11:58 AM on November 3, 2009

My daughter had it, starting in late spring and the dermatologist treated it by burning off with the venomous ointment, but my daughter hated this. After we tried a wide variety of topical remedies she eventually stopped getting new outbreaks after 5 or 6 months.

A couple of years later my son got it and as it was fall and long pants season, we didn't bother with treatment at all. He stopped getting new outbreaks in about four months. When my third child got them we again did as little as possible to treat the papules and they cleared up in about four months as well. In all cases they were mostly confined to the legs and the kids were in the "tween" years and inclined to heal fairly quickly. I think as with most viruses, it just has to run its course.
posted by readery at 7:31 PM on November 3, 2009

I had a bit of this on my leg. I have no idea if this is definitely safe or prudent, but it did work for me. I dabbed apple cider vinegar on each lesion and covered with a band aid every morning (sometimes I also put a bit of ACV on a cotton ball and taped that in place, but it stinks so I discontinued). This cleared it all up within a few weeks with no scarring, although it is a bit scary towards the end of the treatment when the bumps turn black.
posted by telegraph at 7:58 PM on November 4, 2009

Following up on my earlier answer, after seeing the dermatologist we decided to go with the imiquimod (Aldara); others we know who have used it report some local redness and irritation as the only side effect but we will try it somewhere besides the face first just in case. We plan to start next week, so don't really have any experience yet, but feel free to let me know if you want a follow up.
posted by TedW at 6:47 AM on November 5, 2009

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