Seborrheic kertosis is a form of benign skin growth that usually occurs in older adults. It appears as a pigmented growth in the more exposed parts of the body such as the face, chest, shoulders or back. It is characterized by waxy and scaly growths that appear brown, black or tan color. They tend to have a well-circumscribed border and some may feel flat while others may be slightly elevated. They may appear either singly or as multiple skin growths.
The appearance of these keratoses beins as a small dark macule that grows in size with time, usually up to 3cm in diameter. Initially, the growth may feel soft and velvety but it gradually hardens into an uneven warty texture.
The cause of seborrheic keratosis has not been definitively established though its tendency to occur on the more exposed parts of the body has led to suggestions that ultraviolet light from the sun may play a role. However, its occurrence in areas not exposed to the sun has led to the theory that genetics may be involved.
Scientific studies on this subject done by renowned scientists such as Reiches and Bedi have linked seborrheic keratosis to genetics. They observed that the condition was transmited through generations of particular families and stated that inheritance is autosomal dominant.
Whether as a result of genetics or exposure to ultraviolet rays occurrence of seborrheic keratosis has been found to be a directly caused by the mutation of the FGFR3 gene. Other studies have related such growths to other disease such as Bowen`s disease and squamous epithelial dysplasia. Those most at risk of developing such lesions are individuals above the age of 40. It has been found that risk increases with age. Frequent sun exposure may also escalate the chances of developing such growths though more research on the direct relationship between ultraviolet rays and seborrheic keratosis still needs to be done. The skin condition often runs in families and the risk is directly proportional to the number of affected relatives.
Since it is non-cancerous, no treatment of seborrheic keratosis is necessary. However, some growths may feel itchy or be sensitive to clothing and this may lead to infection.Alsp one may want to have them removed for aesthetic purposes. One can have them effectively removed through various procedures such as cryotherapy, curettage and cautery or shave excision.
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