Cantharidin application is the treatment of choice for extensive Molluscum Contagiosum and can be used for warts too.

Cantharidin is a substance derived from the blister beetle, that causes a blister within 2 days on the lesion. This will lift the lesion off the skin and after a few days when the blister has dried. the lesion comes off.

Cantharidin application is painless to apply and heals without scarring, as Cantharidin only affects the top layer of the skin (epidermis). Cantharidin should not be used on mucous membranes (eyelids, nostrils, mouth) and should be used with care on the face and around the genitals and anus.

What to expect

  • Cantharidin is accurately applied to the wart or molluscum.
  • The liquid is allowed to dry and covered with tape for 4-6 hours.
  • The tape is then removed and the area washed with soap and water.
  • Within 24 to 48 hours a blister will form.
  • Over the next few days the blister will dry and the lesion may fall off.
  • Healing is normally complete within 7 days.

Resistant warts and new molluscum lesions will require a repeat treatment.

Molluscum contagiosum and warts

Both are viral skin infections that result in small, harmless skin growths.

Molluscum Contagiosum is a very common skin condition that affect children, especially those with eczema. It spreads through direct skin contact with a lesion and commonly occurs in areas with eczema.

Molluscum Contagiosum always clears up by itself eventually, but most people prefer treatment. It is then wise to choose a treatment option that does not have a  significant risk of scarring (freezing and surgical removal). Aldara treatment can be used, but is not as effective as the other options.

Warts are caused by the HPV virus (human papilloma virus) and affect children and adults.There is a long list of treatment options for warts that include the use of cantharadin. The procedure for treating warts with Cantharidin is similar than for molluscum, except that certain warts should be shaved or ‘thinned’ before the application of Cantharidin. Also used for plantar warts.