About Seborrheic Keratoses
Seborrheic keratoses is a common, noncancerous skin growth. Despite its unbecoming appearance, it is harmless. These skin growths differ in color, are typically oval-shaped, and are often raised to resemble the scaly look of a mole or wart. They can appear anywhere on the body but commonly appear on the back, shoulders, or chest. Seborrheic keratoses are not contagious and are common in middle-aged and older adults. Having a cluster of skin growths is also common. Measurements of these elevated growths may vary from pea-sized to quarter-sized. Since seborrheic keratoses can look like moles, examination by a professional is strongly recommended. Dermatologist Dr. Adean Kingston of Adean Kingston, M.D., PLLC in Dallas, Texas will provide a thorough skin exam and treatment options to reduce or eliminate this skin condition if desired.
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The cause of seborrheic keratoses is unknown. In most patients, irritation may occur due to its raised nature, but generally it does not itch or cause discomfort. It's important to be aware that tight clothing may worsen the condition, so avoid friction or rubbing your clothes against these raised skin lesions. Accidently scraping, scratching, or puncturing seborrheic keratoses may be painful and lead to bleeding. Although it's common to have slightly elevated growths, they may also be flat. The discoloration of seborrheic keratoses varies from black, brown, tan, yellow or white. The texture of these skin lesions also vary from waxy to rough and scaly or even scab-like in consistency.
A seborrheic keratosis usually looks like a flat waxy or raised wart-like growth. The raised warty SKs typically appear on the face, chest, shoulders, or the back of the body, and the flat waxy variety tends to favor the extremities. You may develop a single growth or a cluster. A seborrheic keratosis:
- Varies in color, usually from light tan to brown or black
- Is round or oval in shape
- Has a characteristic "stuck on" look
- Is flat or slightly elevated with a scaly or waxy surface
- Ranges in size from very small to more than one inch (2.5 centimeters) across
- May itch
Seborrheic keratoses aren't usually painful, but they can be bothersome depending on their size and location. Be careful not to rub, scratch, or pick at them. This could lead to bleeding, swelling, and in rare cases, infection.
Depending on the severity of the skin condition, seborrheic keratoses can be removed by laser treatment, freezing, electrodessication therapy, or scraping (curettage). Of these various treatment options available, Cryosurgery is the most common treatment and is usually very effective. This treatment for SKs uses liquid nitrogen to freeze them and then they flake off over the next few weeks. Electrodessication therapy (or electrocautery) burns the lesions with electric currents. Men and women with lighter or flat growths are recommended to have the lesions removed through scraping or curettage. After the removal of seborrheic keratoses, the skin may be discolored but this normally fades over time, especially with proper wound care. The removal of these skin growths does not guarantee that reoccurrence will not take place.
Receive a Detailed Diagnosis
Seeing Dr. Kingston to properly diagnose seborrheic keratoses is highly encouraged, as it can closely resemble melanoma in physical appearance. Our dedicated skin care team exceedingly strives to provide the utmost professional care. We invite you to stop by for a consultation and diagnostic testing. A simple screening can relieve your worry and set you on track toward clearer skin.