Aging often causes the appearance of various types of previously non-existent skin growths. Many of these are harmless, including seborrheic keratosis, though you may not like how they make your skin look. At Cosmetic Laser Dermatology, we understand how the appearance of any unsightly skin blemish, even if harmless, can make you self-conscious. That’s why we offer several treatment options for this type of skin condition.
What Is Seborrheic Keratosis?
Seborrheic keratosis (SK) is a harmless skin growth that often appears on your skin as you age. If you’re like some people, you may have only one, but others may have several seborrheic keratoses develop over time. However, SK is neither cancerous nor precancerous; in fact, it is not even a risk factor for skin cancer. The skin growths are usually waxy in appearance and can be brown, black, tan, or even yellowish. They can develop anywhere on the body and are often mistaken for some sort of scab or because an SK can be flat and/or slightly elevated, a wart.
Typically, there are few or even no symptoms. It is not uncommon, however, for SK to become inflamed and red. They may become itchy or even painful, but it is not typical. If you scratch them too much or injure them in some way, an infection could occur.
Despite the fact that seborrheic keratoses are harmless, if you notice an unusual skin growth matching their description, you should consult with a board-certified dermatologist to rule out melanoma or some other more serious skin condition. Often, a melanoma can resemble an SK, and if you have a history of SKs or other types of unusual skin growths, you might accidentally ignore what actually is a melanoma, which can be a risk to your health and even your life.
It’s not fully known what causes SKs to develop, but they are not contagious. There are, however, several risk factors, the primary one being age. Studies indicate that other risk factors could include the following:
- Chronic sun exposure or frequent sunburns
- Skin irritation, particularly between folds of skin
- Chafing from contact with clothing
- A family history of SK
- Certain medications, including those with epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors
Although it is understandable that you want to remove these skin growths because you find them unattractive, treatment for SK is not necessary unless it has become damaged or infected.
At CLDerm, we have several approaches for removing seborrheic keratosis, depending on your goals and lifestyle:
Electrodesiccation is the use of an electrical current to erase seborrheic keratosis. This is often performed in conjunction with a curettage procedure, in which the growth is gently scraped off the surface of your skin.
Cryotherapy involves the application of liquid nitrogen to freeze off the growth.
Eskata is a new FDA-approved treatment that offers great results. Eskata is a topical solution with highly-concentrated hydrogen peroxide that has been specifically designed to treat SK. Treatment is administered in a single office visit by applying the topical directly to the growth four times about one minute apart. Within 2-3 weeks, the skin growths should be completely cleared.
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