Signs & Symptoms of Molluscum Contagiosum

Typically, the first sign of this infection is a painless lesion on the skin. The small painless papules may quickly become raised and form a nodule. This is a pearl or a flesh colored nodule that is painless, but unsightly. Often, this papule may also develop a small dimple in its center, and it appears as if the papule is an infection of the hair follicle. If the person scratches these papules, they may begin to occur in a line. Scratching or picking these lesions may cause them to spread on the skin and become even more severely infected. Sometimes the papules also become irritated and begin to grow in clusters. These are known as crops.

The papules are usually very small, measuring no more than 2 to 5 millimeters. Unless you have been scratching at the papules rather vigorously, they do not become red and there is no inflammation either. However, if you continue to scratch them, they may become tender to touch and painful.

While the skin lesions are small and do not have any specific characteristics, they usually have a central core with a dimple. This core may also contain a plug of cheesy white colored material, which is waxy in consistency.

Lesions in adults are usually seen on the inner thighs, lower abdomen, folds of the skin and on the genitals. There are no other specific symptoms of molluscus contagiosum. 
  1. Stephen K Tyring, Molluscum contagiosum: the importance of early diagnosis and treatment, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Volume 189, Issue 3, Supplement, September 2003, Pages S12-S16, ISSN 0002-9378, 10.1067/S0002-9378(03)00793-2.