Seborrheic Keratoses

Seborrheic Keratoses

Seborrheic keratoses are the most common benign tumor found in older individuals. Seborrheic keratoses have a variety of clinical appearances and they develop from the proliferation of epidermal cells. They often appear on the back or chest, but can occur on any part of the body. Seborrheic keratoses grow slowly, in groups or singly. Most people will develop at least one seborrheic keratosis during their lifetime. Although no specific etiologic factors have been identified, they occur more frequently in sunlight-exposed areas.

The skin growth caused by seborrheic keratose appears as small rough bumps. Then they slowly thicken and get a warty surface. They range in color from white to black. Most of them are tan or brown. They can look like warts, moles, actinic keratoses, and skin cancer. They differ, though, from these other skin growths. Seborrheic keratoses have a waxy, “pasted-on-the-skin” look. Some look like a dab of warm, brown candle wax on the skin. Others may resemble a barnacle sticking to a ship.

While the causes of this skin infection is unknown, the contributing factors of seborrheic keratoses are hereditary related. Those with a family history of this skin disease are vulnerable. Some people seem to inherit a tendency to get many of these growths. Studies also suggest that sun exposure may play a role. It is known that seborrheic keratoses are not contagious. These growths may seem to multiply and spread to other parts of the body. The truth is, this does not happen.

A doctor should be consulted if many growths develop over a short time of a few weeks to months. Normally, seborrheic keratoses appear one or two at a time over many years. You should express your concerns with your doctor growths get irritated or bleed when your clothing rubs against them. You may want the growths removed. If you notice suspicious changes in your skin, such as sores or growths that grow rapidly, bleed and don’t heal, you should contact your doctor immediately. These could be signs of skin cancer.

Unfortunately, there is little understanding as to why they develop or how they can be prevented. However, there are a number of effective forms of seborrheic keratosis treatment. There are lots of home treatments for seborrheic keratosis. These home treatments are mostly natural. Though they are effective, some take a lot of time to work and so you need to be dedicated and committed to achieve your desired results.

Seborrheic keratosis can be treated at home by the use of glycolic acid. Put a small amount on the growth and let it dry there. Leave it for some hours. Additionally, Vitamin D can replenish the skin as well as improving the immune system. Meals that are rich in Vitamin D should be eaten. You could also take vitamin D supplements to help you with that. Vitamin D is also known to improve the skin’s complexion.

Sometimes treating seborrheic keratoses may involve minor surgery. Leaving the growths in place will do no harm, but people may want to have them frozen, burned or scraped off if seborrheic keratoses spread, bleed or itch. Your health care provider can remove seborrheic keratoses using several methods including:

  • Freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery). Cryosurgery can be an effective way to remove seborrheic keratoses. However, it may not work on large, thick growths, and it may lighten the treated skin (hypopigmentation).
  • Scraping the skin’s surface with a special instrument (curettage). Sometimes curettage is used along with cryosurgery to treat thinner or flat growths. It may be used with electrocautery.
  • Burning with an electric current (electrocautery). Used alone or with curettage, electrocautery can be effective in removing seborrheic keratoses. This procedure can leave scars if it’s not done properly, and it may take longer than other removal methods.
  • Vaporizing the growth with a laser (ablation). Different types of laser treatments are available. Your doctor may apply pigment to the growth to help concentrate the laser light, making it more effective.
  • After removal of seborrheic keratosis, the skin may appear to be lighter than the surrounding skin. This usually fades with time. Sometimes it is permanent. Most removed seborrheic keratoses do not return. But a new one may occur elsewhere.

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