Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum Contagiosum in Relation to HIV

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) presents with numerous skin issues, which include molluscum contagiosum (10%). Skin issues are a result of the person’s acquired immunodeficiency.

Molluscum contagiosum presents as clusters of small round papules that range in size from 1 to 6 mm and may be white, pink, or brown. They often have a waxy, shiny look with a small central pit (this appearance is sometimes described as umbilicated). Each papule contains white cheesy material and they arise mainly in warm, moist places on the body, such as the armpit, behind the knees, groin, or genital areas. They can arise on the lips or rarely inside the mouth.

Molluscum contagiosum frequently induces dermatitis around the papules and the affected skin becomes pink, dry, and itchy. As the papules resolve, they may become inflamed, crusted or scabby for a week or two.

SPA MANAGEMENT

What is the cause of Molluscum Contagiosum in your client?

Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a poxvirus, the molluscum contagiosum virus. There are at least 4 viral subtypes. There are several ways it can spread:

  •   Direct skin-to-skin contact
  •   Indirect contact via shared towels or other items
  •   Autoinoculation into another site by scratching or shaving
  •   Sexual transmission in adults


Determine any medications, contraindications, and cautions before proceeding with any spa treatment.

Treatments that can be offered:

  • Cryotherapy
  • Electrodessication
  • Hydrogen peroxide cream or povidone iodine solution; wart products containing salicylic acid
  • Sanitation/disinfection practices to be in place

Estheticians: The molluscum contagiosum virus remains in the epidermis and does not circulate throughout the body. Removing it with above modalities will get rid of it, and once the body's immune system kicks in and it becomes crusted or forms a scab, that particular molluscum is no longer contagious.

DISCLAIMER: Work within the scope of your license/certification.

Portrait of Mórag Currin. About the Author

Mórag Currin is a highly sought-after esthetic educator with more than 27 years of spa industry experience and more than twelve years of training and training management experience. She travels around the globe with her training and expertise, helping to raise the bar in the spa industry and to open the door to all people, regardless of skin type or health condition. To learn more about this topic and many other skin challenges, diseases, and symptoms, check out Mórag’s book, Health Challenged Skin: The Estheticians’ Desk Reference.

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