There are many similarities between molluscum and warts. However, molluscum lesions are smaller, have a central dimple, and appear in groups.
Lesions are usually clustered in groups – anything from 2 to over 30. Numerous small lesions may appear close together and look like a rash. The lesions are usually smaller than viral warts (1 to 6mm across) and are classically described as ‘dome shaped’. If you were to use a magnifying glass and take a close look at the top of each lesion, you will often see a small dimple.
The lesions are skin-coloured, pink, red or brown, and are often a little shiny.
Individual lesions disappear after a few weeks – often to be replaced by new ones elsewhere. As the lesions begin to clear up, they can become inflamed and may even appear infected, though this is rare. The virus can also cause localized eczema in around 10% of people where the background skin becomes scaly.
Molluscum lesions can occasionally be up to 1.5cm. A solitary giant molluscum in an adult may look like a skin cancer, and a skin biopsy will likely be required.