There are several other skin conditions that may be confused with molluscum papules (raised skin bumps), so if there is any doubt you should consult a medical professional.
Unlike molluscum lesions (skin abnormalities), herpes sores are painful. However, most people with herpes never present obvious symptoms and may be unaware that they have the virus. The first outbreak usually occurs two weeks after transmission and may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms. For molluscum contagiosum, symptoms appear after two weeks to six months after contracting the virus. Sensitive skin is an early sign of a herpes outbreak. Skin erupts into red sores that fill with fluid which turns to pus, then burst and scab over. The sores are flat, rather than raised like molluscum papules. People with herpes usually initially have four to five outbreaks a year, whereas with the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV), when the lesions are gone, so is the virus. The herpes virus can still be contagious even where there are no visible sores. It remains in the body for life. It is diagnosed in the same way as molluscum contagiosum, based on a visual inspection and samples taken from the lesion. As with molluscum contagiosum, herpes can occasionally be passed from mother to infant at birth.
Genital warts are also caused by a DNA virus, the human papilloma virus, or HPV. As their name suggests, these warts only occur in the genital areas, whereas molluscum lesions can be found anywhere on the body except the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. If a wart caused by HPV is located elsewhere on the body, it is just a wart rather than a "genital wart". As with MCV, HPV is primarily sexually transmitted in adults (when it is found in the genital area). It is the most common STI and about half of all sexually active adults will acquire it. Unlike molluscum, it can be dangerous in it has been connected to several types of cancer, particularly instances of cervical cancer in women. The incubation period (time between contact with the disease-causing particles and onset of symptoms) is two weeks to eight months, similar to MCV's incubation period of two week to six months. In most cases, HPV eventually resolves itself, but it can take years and it can also lie dormant for long periods of time. Molluscum contagiosum, on the other hand, is no longer in the body once the papules have been resolved. The lesions of both conditions can be treated with podophyllin, acids, cryotherapy, excision (cutting them out), and imiquimod (which is not effective for everyone). Rarely, it can be passed from mother to infant at birth.
Pearly Penile Papules
Pearly penile papules are, unsurprisingly, only found in men. Molluscum contagiosum, while more common in men, also occurs in women. Pearly penile papules usually manifest as a ring of small (1 to 3mm) lesions around the glans penis (or "head" of the penis) and are common: about 8 to 42% of men have some. Molluscum lesions tend to appear in small clusters or linear pattern and can be anywhere on the body (except the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet). Pearly penile papules may be more common in uncircumcised men. They are not infectious and do not require any treatment. In fact, any treatment received will likely result in scarring. They are benign and have no other symptoms. They usually appear between the ages of 20 and 40 and decrease in prominence with age.
A genital pimple is caused by bacteria in inflamed hair follicles in the genital area as opposed to a virus. It can be more itchy and painful than acne in other places because the skin is so sensitive. They are round inflamed, red bumps, often with a white, pus-filled centre. It is for this reason that people often mistake single molluscum papules with their dimpled white centre for a pimple. Pimples can be treated with salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and sulphur (topical solutions); antiobiotics (oral or topical); and hormone-related treatments (contraceptive pills and spironolactone, an anti androgen (androgens are male sex hormones)) for women.