Complications of molluscum contagiosum 

Molluscum contagiosum (MC) usually clears up on its own eventually without the need for treatment, and it rarely causes any other problems.

However, complications can occasionally occur. Some of the main complications associated with MC are outlined below.

Bacterial infection

In some cases, the spots of MC can become infected with bacteria. This is known as a secondary bacterial infection and it's thought to be more likely if you have atopic eczema (a skin condition caused by an allergy) or a weakened immune system.

Signs of a secondary bacterial infection can include redness, swelling and pain in the skin and underlying tissue.

See your GP if you think your or your child’s spots have become infected. They will usually prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.


After MC has healed and cleared, small patches of paler skin or tiny indented scars may be left behind. This is more likely to happen if the spots became infected or if you have had treatment for them.

Scarring is most common in areas of skin where there is more fatty tissue, such as your thighs.

Eye problems

In rare cases, if you or your child has MC around the eyes, a secondary eye infection may develop, such as conjunctivitis or keratitis (see below).

Conjunctivitis affects the thin layer of skin inside the eyelids called the conjunctiva. It causes your eyes to become red, swollen and watery. You may also have a sticky coating on your eyelids and eyelashes.

Keratitis is similar to conjunctivitis, but it affects your cornea (the transparent layer of cells that cover the surface of your eye). If you have keratitis, your eyes may be painful and sensitive to light, and you may have blurred vision.

See your GP if you or your child have any problems with your eyes. If necessary, they will refer you to a specialist in diagnosing and treating eye conditions, called an ophthalmologist, who may prescribe eye drops to reduce your symptoms and treat the infection.

Page last reviewed: 01/10/2014

Next review due: 01/10/2016