The small, round, smooth/waxy, indented bumps are usually about 3 mm to 5 mm in size. The bumps are painless, and may appear alone or in groups. They are most often found on the trunk, face, eyelids or genital area. In children, bumps usually appear on the trunk, face, and arms. In sexually active teenagers and young adults, the bumps are commonly located in the pubic area, groin, thighs and genital area. The bumps may become inflamed at the base and turn red as part of the body's natural immune system response as it fights the virus.
The incubation period—the time from exposure to the virus until the bumps appear—is usually 2 to 7 weeks but can be up to 6 months.
In people who have an impaired immune system, such as HIV infection, symptoms of molluscum contagiosum are more severe.