Managing Molluscum Contagiosum: What to Buy at Walgreens

May 16, 2024

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Molluscum contagiosum is a frustrating and highly contagious viral infection of the skin. It causes clusters of small, painless bumps called molluscum bodies that can take 6-12 months to resolve without treatment. People often seek over-the-counter remedies to speed healing, reduce scarring from scratching, and prevent spreading it to others. But what molluscum treatments does Walgreens actually offer?

Overview of Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a poxvirus transmitted through skin contact, shared towels, and surfaces. Incubation is 2-7 weeks before painless dome-shaped growths appear. Without treatment, individual lesions usually clear in 18 months, but can reappear.

Common locations in adults include the face, neck, armpits, genitals and hands. In children, lesions often occur on the belly, chest and arms.

While not a serious condition, embarrassing bumps prompt treatment. But no OTC products sold at Walgreens or other pharmacies are FDA-approved specifically for molluscum.

FDA-Approved Molluscum Treatments

In mid-2022, the FDA approved the first treatment for molluscum contagiosum:

  • Ycanth (cantharidin) – a topical blistering agent applied by healthcare providers

As molluscum is self-limiting, typically no treatment is required. But various interventions aim to speed healing:

  • Cryotherapy – freezing bumps with liquid nitrogen
  • Curettage – scraping or cutting lesions off
  • Laser therapy – destroying bumps with a precise beam of light

These in-office procedures often show the best results but may cause scarring if not done properly. They require multiple visits for full clearance.

No OTC products sold at pharmacies are FDA-approved to treat molluscum at home. But some alternative remedies are marketed.

OTC Products for Molluscum at Walgreens

Common over-the-counter products patients try for molluscum include:

  • Salicylic acid – keratolytic agent to peel skin lesions
  • Tea tree oil – anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties
  • Oregano oil – antiviral and immune boosting qualities
  • Ichthammol ointment – soothing sulfur-based drawing salve

These may help dry bumps out faster and reduce itching. But efficacy is unreliable and skin irritation possible if using too strong concentrations.

At Walgreens, patients can find brands like:

Always monitor OTC products for skin irritation and follow package instructions carefully. Effects on molluscum are inconsistent. Seek medical advice if concerned.

Using Emuaid© for Molluscum Contagiosum

The Emuaid© First Aid Ointment at Walgreens contains several soothing and antimicrobial ingredients like:

  • Emu oil
  • Ichthammol
  • Tea tree oil
  • Calendula

It leverages natural compounds to ease molluscum symptoms like:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Combating viruses
  • Moisturizing irritated skin
  • Protecting against secondary infections

The thick ointment creates a protective barrier while allowing skin to breathe. It is labelled to:

  • Relieve itching, scaling, scrapes and blisters
  • Calm bug bites, minor wounds and rashes
  • Soothe symptoms of eczema, rosacea and acne

Despite some promising case reports, clinical evidence on Emuaid efficacy specifically for molluscum contagiosum is currently lacking. But it may provide symptomatic relief and moisturization without side effects for sensitive skin.

Always carefully follow package directions and monitor for reactions with any new skin product including natural OTC ointments. Improvements to molluscum bumps does not equal a cure. Results vary widely.

Can OTC Treatments From Walgreens Cure Molluscum?

The short answer is no. There are currently no FDA-approved OTC products sold at major pharmacies that can definitively cure a molluscum contagiosum infection.

While smoking out bumps faster may seem desirable, keep realistic expectations about over-the-counter remedies:

🔸 They cannot kill contagious poxvirus still present after visible bumps are gone 🔸 New lesions may continually reappear without total viral elimination
🔸 Once irritated skin heals, you may catch molluscum again through close contact

OTC treatments aim to speed resolution of current bothersome lesions through:

  • Drying up bumps
  • Soothing inflammation
  • Stimulating skin peeling

Visible improvement does not equal a cure. Molluscum virus may still linger and erupt again later.

For more reliable viral destruction, consider clinic-administered options like cryosurgery, laser, curettage or cantharidin. But multiple visits are needed to fully clear and prevent recurrence.

Natural Adjuncts to Medical Treatment

OTC products likely only provide partial symptomatic relief for molluscum contagiousum. But natural approaches can enhance medical treatment:

🔹 Moisturize diligently – Cetaphil, Cerave, coconut oil 🔹 Avoid skin trauma – Prevent picking/scratching/shaving bumps 🔹 Apply antimicrobial essential oils – Tea tree, oregano, frankincense
🔹 Take immune supplements – Zinc, vitamin C, oregano capsules 🔹 Eat a balanced, whole foods diet

A healthy lifestyle keeps skin resilient. Natural soothing and protective remedies reduce transmission risk while medical treatment progresses.

Never apply strong essential oils or salicylic acid directly to skin without dilution. Monitor for reactions.

What to Expect From Walgreens Remedies

Molluscum is notoriously stubborn to treat and eradicate fully. Tamping down visible lesions does not mean destroying the contagious virus. Renewed outbreaks are common.

So what can you realistically expect from using OTC products from Walgreens and similar pharmacies?

Benefits may include:

  • Temporary bump size/redness reduction
  • Faster lesion drying
  • Less itching and inflammation
  • Buying time while waiting for natural clearance

Downsides may encompass:

  • Short-term improvements only
  • Risks of skin irritation
  • New eruptions appearing later
  • Wasting money on ineffective products

Carefully weigh pros and cons of do-it-yourself home experimentation.

For more definitive viral destruction, consider medical procedures instead of or alongside OTC supportive measures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any FDA-approved OTC treatments specifically for molluscum sold at Walgreens?

No, there are currently no FDA-approved over-the-counter products to treat molluscum contagiosum sold at Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid or other major pharmacies. The only FDA-approved molluscum treatment is the prescription medication Ycanth.

How can OTC products like Emuaid help manage molluscum bumps?

While not a cure, natural ointments like Emuaid First Aid may provide relief from molluscum symptoms like itching, redness and inflammation. They can protect and moisturize skin to prevent spreading. But clinical evidence on efficacy is limited.

What offers more reliable destruction of molluscum virus – OTC or medical treatments?

In-office procedures like cryosurgery, curettage, laser therapy and cantharidin performed by a dermatologist or doctor destroy more virus more dependably than OTC products. However, they involve some pain, risks like scarring, and require multiple visits.

Can salicylic acid completely eliminate molluscum contagiosum?

No, salicylic acid cannot conclusively cure a molluscum contagiosum infection. It may help dry lesions out faster by exfoliating infected skin cells. But it does not destroy the contagious poxvirus that causes molluscum. New eruptions often eventually recur.

How long do visible improvements from OTC molluscum treatments last?

Drying up current bothersome molluscum lesions faster with OTC remedies generally provides only temporary, short-term improvement. New bumps continuously appear until the infection resolves completely naturally, which takes 12-18 months without more definitive treatment.


  • No OTC products sold at Walgreens can cure molluscum contagiousum
  • Medical procedures more reliably eradicate virus
  • Emuaid and salicylic acid may provide partial symptomatic relief
  • Set realistic expectations around benefits of home experimentation
  • Discuss options with your dermatologist for individualized guidance

While tempting to try, OTC items likely just mask bumps temporarily. For more lasting viral destruction, consider clinic-administered treatment instead of or alongside natural supportive measures.

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