Seborrheic keratosis is a benign skin growth common in adults. Although the skin condition looks dangerous, it is not. However, some people want the condition treated as it can be an irritant when wearing certain clothing.
Symptoms and characteristics of seborrheic keratosis
The skin growth can appear as pale, black or brown. The growth can manifest in the chest, face, back or shoulders. It is scaly or waxy, and has a somewhat raised appearance. Sometimes the growth can be singular or multiple. Some people mistake them for skin cancer, but they are not cancerous.
The shape can be oval or round. The sizes vary, with some very small and others an inch long (2.5 cm). The growth may itch. As stated, these growths are not painful. But they can be irritating depending on where they are located. Do not scratch or rub them; it may cause an infection or inflammation.
Cause of seborrheic keratosis
The cause is unknown. Since the condition seems to be present in certain families, some researchers believe genetics has something to do with it. Anyone can get this skin growth but the most susceptible are people over 50 years of age and those with a family history of the skin growth. Because the cause is unknown, prevention is difficult.
Diagnosis and Tests
Doctors can perform a diagnosis by assessing the growth. If the growth has to be examined under a microscope, removal may be recommended. Because the growth looks like skin cancer, a skin sample may be taken and analyzed.
During your appointment, ask your doctor what tests need to be done. Also inquire if the growth needs treatment or if they will disappear on their own. You can also ask about alternative options if you are not comfortable with the primary suggestions. Do not hesitate to ask questions about the tests, especially about matters you do not understand.
Seborrheic Keratosis Treatment Options
Go to your doctor if the growths are numerous. Usually these growths show up one or two at a time over several years. You should also check with your doctor if the growths bleed when rubbed against clothes. If that happens, the growths must be removed. If sores appear quickly and do not heal, visit your doctor.
Treatment of seborrheic keratosis is usually unnecessary. But if you want them removed, the procedure is easy. The growths are not deeply set, so you won’t get scars when they are taken off. There are several techniques used to get rid of the growth. Cryosurgery involves freezing using liquid nitrogen. This technique is most effective for small growths. A curettage is an instrument used to scrape the skin. This tool can be used to remove growths. Oftentimes this instrument is utilized with cryosurgery. Curettage may also be employed with electrocautery.
Electrocautery involves the use of electric currents. Make sure the procedure is performed by a specialist; performed incorrectly, the skin will end up with scars. Seborrheic keratosis is a very common skin growth and is in no way dangerous. Whether you want it removed for cosmetic reasons or because it is an irritant, there are many options available.
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