Treatment of molluscum contagiosum with potassium hydroxide: a clinical approach in 35 children

Pediatr Dermatol. 1999 May-Jun;16(3):228-31. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1470.1999.00066.x.


Potassium hydroxide (KOH) is a strong alkali that has long been known to digest proteins, lipids, and most other epithelial debris of skin scrapings to identify fungal infections. To our knowledge, KOH has never been used for the treatment of molluscum contagiosum (MC). We evaluated 35 children with MC for the clinical effectiveness of treatment with topical 10% KOH aqueous solution. The solution was applied by the parents of affected children, twice daily, on each MC lesion. The therapy was continued until all lesions underwent inflammation and superficial ulceration. Thirty-two of 35 patients achieved complete clinical cure after a mean treatment period of 30 days. Three children discontinued treatment: two reported severe stinging of the lesions and refused further applications; the other, with giant MC lesions, developed a secondary infection with prolonged treatment. Therapy with KOH was found to be effective and safe in the treatment of MC in children.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxides / adverse effects
  • Hydroxides / therapeutic use*
  • Hyperpigmentation / chemically induced
  • Hypertrophy / chemically induced
  • Hypopigmentation / chemically induced
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Molluscum Contagiosum / drug therapy*
  • Potassium Compounds / adverse effects
  • Potassium Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hydroxides
  • Potassium Compounds
  • potassium hydroxide