Molluscum contagiosum, as intimidating as it sounds, is actually pretty common. Simply known as water warts, these are caused by a viral infection. And while they can resolve on their own without much treatment, it does pay to take measures to manage and prevent its spread on yourself and to others. Luckily, there are a number of alternative treatments, including essential oils for molluscum contagiosum relief.
What is Molluscum Contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum, or more commonly referred to as MC or water warts, is caused by an infection of a poxvirus–the same family of viruses that cause smallpox.
The infection manifests in small, raised pinkish, whitish, or flesh-colored bumps on the skin. While the lesions themselves may not be painful, the surrounding area may become itchy or sore.
They may appear singularly or in groups, depending on the degree of infection. The skin lesions show within 7 weeks of exposure to the virus and most commonly affect the limbs, neck, and chest but can virtually affect any part of the body. Scratching or removing the warts will result in spreading the infection on your body or to someone else.
The virus can be passed through sharing contaminated objects such as towels, clothing, utensils and the like. It can also spread through direct skin-to-skin contact such as sexual activity.
Certain factors like poor personal and communal hygiene, weak immune system, and previous skin conditions can increase the risk of getting infected and getting water warts.
While molluscum contagiosum can resolve on its own without treatment, it is best to manage them to prevent spreading the infection on yourself and reduce the risk of even spreading it to other people.
Over-the-counter wart medicines with salicylic acid application of tretinoin cream can typically provide some relief from the itchiness and pain as well as reduce the duration of the infection.
Like most wart-like lesions, cryosurgery–where liquid nitrogen is used to freeze off the warts– is also sought after. The lesions are left to scab off or scraped off, but this may cause scarring.
Pulsed dye laser therapy is also becoming more popular, especially with children
The Best Essential Oils for Molluscum Contagiosum
Essential oils provide a potent alternative treatment for molluscum contagiosum. Below are the best essential oils that can be used to manage water warts and how to use them.
Tea tree oil is considered to be very potent against most types of warts, including molluscum warts. Its antiseptic, antiviral and skin rejuvenating properties can help speed up the healing of the warts as well as soothe and relieve the skin from itchiness and inflammation.
Australian Lemon Myrtle
Found in many products that treat skin lesions, Australian lemon myrtle oil is another powerful oil to use for water warts treatment. Like tea tree oil, its anti-inflammatory properties help soothe the skin and prevent further irritations.
Fractionated coconut oil
Fractionated coconut oil is a popular carrier oil used alongside with essential oils, but it has also been found to be very effective in molluscum contagiosum relief on its own. Because of its strong moisturizing and skin rejuvenating properties, it helps provide relief from itchiness and dryness, and ultimately helps in speeding up the recovery.
Eucalyptus oil is another potent essential oil to use against molluscum warts. Its potent antiviral properties can help get rid of the poxvirus that causes the warts in the first place.
Neem oil is chock full of antioxidants and antimicrobial compounds, making it very effective against water warts. It can also help in fighting skin infections and promote scar healing.
How To Use
There are several ways you can effectively use essential oils against molluscum contagiosum warts. Among these is to use them in a lotion or salve.
For the best results, use our recommended brands. Remember to never put undiluted essential oils on the warts and surrounding area so as not to cause any further irritation. Perform a patch test on an unaffected part of your body and observe for any effects. Discontinue use immediately if you show any adverse reactions.
Homemade Lotion for Molluscum Contagiosum
As we’ve gone over above, fractionated coconut oil is pretty effective in treating water warts. As such, you can go ahead and use it as a cream or lotion to apply directly on the warts.
But it would be better if the carrier oil is given an extra boost of benefits from essential oils to really combat the discomfort and speed up the healing of the warts. Mix 3-5 drops of the essential oil or oils above to an ounce of coconut oil. Apply this homemade essential oil mixture several times throughout the day.
Tea Tree with Iodine
Tea tree combined with iodine has been found to have reduced the lesions after applying twice a day for 30 days. Mix 3-5 drops of tea tree oil to an ounce of fractionated coconut oil and add a few drops of iodine. Put this tea tree oil-iodine blend in a roller bottle and apply twice a day.
There are a few alternative treatments that people swear by works against molluscum contagiosum warts other than essential oils.
Colloidal oatmeal baths
Colloidal oatmeal is finely ground up oatmeal. Adding the fine powder to warm water and coating your body, focusing on the affected areas, can help provide relief from the itchiness and help dry up the warts. The fatty acids present in oatmeal is also said to have anti-inflammatory properties which can aid in managing the molluscum warts.
Apple Cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another popular alternative treatment for water warts. There is very little scientific evidence to support the claims, but it is said that directly applying apple cider vinegar to the lesions can help in speeding up the healing process of the warts with minimal scarring.
Things to remember
As with many diseases, contracting a molluscum contagiosum infection is preventable. Cliche as it sounds, but prevention is better than cure. So here are a few things to remember to prevent getting water warts:
- Practice proper personal hygiene. Also encourage the people you live with to take care of their own personal hygiene to maintain proper communal hygiene to reduce the risk of infection.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Many viral and bacterial infections are prevented by proper handwashing.
- One of the risk factors for contracting MC is a poor immune system. Maintain a proper diet, and consider taking multivitamin supplements.
- In case you do contract MC and the warts start appearing, resist the urge to scratch or pull off the lesions as you can spread the infection to an otherwise uninfected part of your body and to other people.
- While MC will go away on its own, consult your doctor immediately if the warts start to bleed or excrete pus or when they become painful. Other than the usual itchiness of the surrounding skin, MC warts are not supposed to be painful. Bleeding and pus excretion may indicate an infection.
Molluscum contagiosum is very common, but it is also easily preventable. And while medical professionals would usually advise to sit out the infection and let it resolve on its own, it doesn’t hurt to take the measures to shorten your infection and prevent spreading the virus to others. Luckily, there are many alternative treatments, as well as potent essential oils that may help in managing not just the discomfort and the presence of warts, but to also speed up healing.