Molluscum Contagiosum - Editor's Choice

Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have sent us many reports about their treatments for Molluscum Contagiosum. The editors at Earth Clinic consider the below posts to be some of the most helpful and informative and have named them 'Editor's Choice'. We hope that you will find this useful.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted by Joe (Canada) on 10/05/2018

To start off, I had Mollescum Contagiosum for a year and one week and told myself the entire time that when I got rid of the infection I would compile and post a list of treatments that I tried and how well they worked for me. The worst part of having this virus is how hopeless and depressing it can be when you constantly apply treatments but it keeps coming back, so hopefully someone with MC stumbles on this story and finds if helpful.

So here's my story: I'm a 26 year old male and 14 months ago, 3 months after ending my last relationship, I discovered a bunch of small white bumps and some pink bumps on my lower abs and pubic area. The first time I noticed them there were maybe 6, and a couple days later there were around 30. I panicked – I googled STDs and self diagnosed myself with mollescum. I read about the virus and treatment options on medical websites and felt like treatments were very limited.

There are a bunch of websites out there that claim to have a cheap cure and I was desperate enough to pay $15 to one of them even though it seemed suspicious; basically it gave me detailed instructions on how to apply the most common cure out there: apple cider vinegar. I ended up using ACV as my primary treatment for 8 months. I would dip cotton makeup pads or balls into the ACV, put them on the mollescum, cover with a waterproof bandaid, and put adhesive tape over the bandaids so they wouldn't come off. I would generally leave these on for 9-12 hours. I found that this worked decently and got rid of the bumps on the first try over half the time. The biggest issue was that the soaked cotton balls/pads were difficult to keep on in some places, like when I had bumps appear on my foreskin.

A week after self diagnosing I went to the STD clinic so they could confirm; they recommended using nitrogen to freeze the bumps off and I was willing to give it a try. Personally I think this was a mistake. While the nitrogen didn't really hurt, it left scarring that I was self conscious about. Most of the scars disappeared 6 months later, but I still have a few where I had bumps that I also applied ACV on. I think the treatment was effective, but I didn't go back again because of the scarring.

About a month after starting treatments I entered a cycle of getting rid of any new molluscum that I saw, being clear for a week, two weeks, a month, or two months, and then having another outbreak.

The next treatment I tried was Cimetidine. Basically Cimetidine is an outdated heartburn medication, but there were some studies done with it that showed promising effects on eliminating molluscum (I should note that most of these studies were done on children). I got a prescription for the pills and took 800mg 3 times daily for 2 months. It was ineffective.

At the two and a half month mark I tried to replace ACV with a lotion I ordered online called Mollenol. It didn't have too many reviews but they were on a few websites/forums and were generally positive. It worked worse than ACV, but it did work after a few of days of applications. I don't recommend Mollenol though – it stings a lot. This stuff dripped down to my scrotum and foreskin (as a liquid lotion tends to) and I was in searing, blinding agony. The same goes for Mollenol “Sensitive”.

Eight months after my first outbreak I saw a dermatologist who recommended using Veregen ointment. Veregen has the chemical name Sinecatechins 10% and is generally used to treat genital warts. It's a thick paste that's easier to apply and keep on mollescum bumps, and if applied 2-3 times a day the bumps are usually gone in a day or two. This is what I was using for the final four months of being infected, and I had an outbreak of 2-4 bumps once a month.
A year into having the virus I had my final outbreak. I was busy for several days in a row and wasn't able to stay home to apply treatments. On the day that I finally could find time I checked for the bumps before heading to work and they were gone. It was bittersweet after all the effort I applied to getting rid of molluscum, but my body finally recognized the virus and fought it off on its own.

I've held my breath for over two months to make sure it's gone for good, and at this point I think it's safe to say that I'm molluscum free. I know the above story is pretty damn long, but I've tried to put in all the relevant and useful details and stay away from how much of an emotional toll it's taken on me. Truly, I hope this helps someone.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by David (Uk) on 06/15/2017

I noticed small bumps in December last year, as you can imagine, I freaked out as I had no idea what they were. I saw a doctor and he confirmed it was MCV... Unfortunately I had no idea how to treat this, I didn't want to spend too much money on a cure, particularly one that had side effects or was chemically manufactured, furthermore I didn't trust the reviews of some products.

I came across this site in April, for some reason I ignored Apple Cider Vinegar and read the lemon myrtle reviews - I bought a small tube and mixed it with olive oil, then applied it 3x a day to each bump. This caused me severe pain for 20+ minutes on each application, almost unbearable. I saw no progress within a week and decided to go back to the drawing board... That's when I revisited this site and actually paid attention to Apple Cider Vinegar. I ordered a bottle of organic acv and applied it to makeup remover pads, and then taped it down with medical tape. Again, after a week of doing this each night, I saw no results, I was starting to lose my mind.

I decided to read every single review on this site - coming to the conclusion I needed adhesive plasters (band aids) and cotton balls. I was worried, due to the location, that the adhesive might be a bit too much to handle, but I gave it a shot anyway. My method was as follows:

1. Shower, deep cleanse.
2. Pour the Apple Cider Vinegar into the bottle cap.
3. Rip some of the cotton ball, about a pea size.
4. Place into the vinegar filled bottle cap, let it fully soak.
5. Get your plaster (band aid), peel one side off so it's ready to apply.
6. Remove the cotton ball, squeeze the excess but make sure there's still a little left.
7. Put the cotton ball under the band aid and apply to each individual bump, make sure it's fully sealed (or as close as you can) to ensure no air gets in and dries it out.
8. Remove in the morning, shower and apply moisturiser

The first time I did this to one bump, I found it easier to do it overnight as I'm less likely to disturb the plaster. The following morning I woke up to that bump looking in serious trouble (in a good way! ), I think it turned yellowish and flatter. I kept doing this until each bump became black. This means the virus has been killed. Following the bumps turning black, each will begin to 'scab' over. At some points you will feel like the area looks much worse than it did before applying the product, but give it time and your body will heal itself. I remember thinking I hope I'm not stuck like this forever as some of the area looked so terrible, extremely red, scabbed and inflamed - but like I said, my body healed itself, I applied moisturiser and nappy rash cream during the days to help with healing, as you'll notice the areas can become quite painful/sore.

My first bump that I treated is now impossible to trace, and I started treating that about 4 weeks ago. I can only see the smallest trace of the one I last treated, which looked horrible about one week ago, its now fully healed.

My advice is to follow my advice (obviously). ACV is a miracle, if it isn't working, I'd suggest making sure that it's fully sealed (that's why mine didn't work with medical tape), and that you're both applying it long enough and using enough on your cotton balls. Moisturise to help with the healing, and have faith (whichever way you like). Best of luck, you got this!!! :)

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Lori (San Diego, Ca) on 05/01/2015

After finding this site and reading the posts, I have been using the ACV on cotton balls secured by band aids for 5 days now. Almost all of my bumps have "gone black"! I imagine they will be completely gone in a day or two. I am so grateful to have found this page because my doctor told me the only way to get rid of them was to freeze them off, but dermatology (they only ones who have the freezy stuff) couldn't see me for 3 more months!! Can you imagine how much it would have spread in that time?! ?

For those who are interested:

1. I used the full 5% dilution as it came from the bottle. I didn't experience any stinging or scarring

2. I also took the ACV internally (it's good for all kinds of stuff and I figured it couldn't hurt, right?) 2tbsp in 8-12 oz of cold water every morning. If you/your children don't like the flavor, you can add a little honey and lemon. It masks the vinegar taste quite well.

3. For the first 2 days, I was using small pieces of paper towel, but that didn't hold the vinegar as well. On day 3 I switched to cotton balls and that's when I noticed the biggest change in the bumps. Perhaps this would've happened on day 3 anyway, but I think the switch was part of it.

4. I took 2 "detox" baths to include 1/2 cup each of baking soda and Epsom salts. I have no idea if this contributed to my healing or not, but I know it didn't hurt!

Thanks again for this site and for posting your experiences! You totally saved me :)

Barley and Salt

Posted by Asila (Amman, Jordan) on 03/17/2015

Thank you to all those who posted here. Your ideas helped my 9 year old son under-arm, spreading infection. Now it is almost gone.

I recall my late father doing this folk medicine trick with barley and squash. The reasoning in brackets is my own:

1- Place two table spoons of barley over low heat in a frying pan for 5 minutes (to disinfect).

2-Prick each bump with one grain. Choose grains that have sharp needles. (barley grains serve as single-use needle).

3- Stick the grain into a squash or cucumber.

4- Bury the squash (medical waste management).

This is done ceremonially to invoke the psychological factor.

I am lucky that the Dead Sea is an hour drive away. So here is what I did:

1- I pricked the bumps and had my son dip in the ultra salty water for a few minutes, then I checked the pumps.

I pricked and repeated until all pumps turned red.

2- At home, I applied Betadine, pricked and applied apple vinegar compresses daily.

3- I repeated the Dead Sea trip a week later.

Finally the infection was under control, from hundreds of bumps of all sizes to a handful.

The followup treatment is this:

1- disinfect the area with Betadine.

2- prick and squeeze yellow bumps to make sure bumps don't accidentally pop and spread the infection. Prick new bumps so they are no longer protected by thick skin. With each prick and squeeze, reapply Betadine.

2- Apply a saturated solution of salt or sodium Bicarbonate with a cotton bud. Apple vinegar also works but please make sure the acidity does not harm the skin.

3- Apply some salicylic acid wart topical treatment. I prefer coal tar ointment because it doesn't scar or hurt, but it stains a lot.

4- Change to fresh clothes often, add an antiseptic to the wash and hang clothes in the sun. Shower often with disinfecting wash. Do not scrub.

5- make sure the infection does not return. For a couple of months after it is gone, wipe daily with betadine.

Balanced food, supplements like vitamins, Echinacea extract and royal Jelly help.

Some recommend banana peel compresses or milky drops from fresh leaves of the fig tree. I haven't tried those myself.

Be consistently aggressive or this battle is lost. Good Luck.