Bumps on the Skin Like a Volcano

There are many reasons for the development of bumps on the skin, which may range from a regular rash to something more serious such as cancer. If you notice bumps on the skin that resemble a volcano, it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis of the problem. One specific condition that causes raised, volcano-like bumps to appear on the skin is molluscum contagiosum.

Woman looking at rash on elbow. (Image: BSIP/UIG/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)


Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection that is not painful and usually disappears without treatment. It is common among children and adults, and the disease is highly contagious, according to MayoClinic.com.


Look for bumps that are raised and round. The bumps, also called papules, are typically only a quarter of an inch in diameter. The dot or small indentation at the top of the bump is what gives the papule a volcano-like shape. The delicate papules are easily rubbed or scratched off. Many papules can become inflamed or turn red. Dr. John R. Tkach of the Bozeman Skin Clinic notes that molluscum can imitate cancer, but despite looking like cancer the bumps do not turn into cancer.


According to MayoClinic.com, molluscum contagiosum is easily spread from person to person through direct and indirect contact. While skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact, is a common way to spread the infection, it is just as easy to contract the virus through shared household objects including bathroom fixtures and doorknobs. Those with the infection can also spread the virus to other parts of the body through scratching or shaving.


Curing the virus can be accomplished through medical treatment. Dr. Tkach recommends in-office treatment methods such as cutting and squeezing to remove all of the infected cells in the papules. Freezing is another viable solution, though it can cause pain. Laser therapy is also used to control the cells and eliminate the virus. The use of topical solutions can aid in boosting the immune system to help the body fight the infection. According to MayoClinic.com, molluscum contagiosum resolves on its own within six to 12 months, in people with a healthy immune system.


It is possible to control the spread of molluscum contagiosum by not sharing personal items with an infected individual. Using bandages to cover the bumps and refraining from scratching infected areas also helps to avoid contact. Thorough hand washing can prevent you from leaving the virus behind on commonly used household items. It is also advised to avoid sexual contact until the complete elimination of all papules from the body.

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