Seborrheic Keratoses

Seborrheic keratoses are benign skin growths that commonly affect adults. While the exact cause of these growths are not known, they do tend to be hereditary in those with a pronounced number but usually occur in all individuals as they age. Because of the areas in which they commonly appear, there is some suspicion that ultraviolet light may be a causative factor in their development.

A seborrheic keratosis usually appears as a raised flesh-colored, tan, brown or black waxy, stuck-on or scaling spot on the face, arms, chest, back, or legs. They are often round in shape and appear over many years. Seborrheic keratoses also often emerge during pregnancy. Seborrheic keratoses have many different appearances, and can be difficult to distinguish from skin cancer. Dermatologists are often able to make an on-site diagnosis and should be consulted. Rarely a biopsy may be required to differentiate a seborrheic keratosis from a skin cancer.

Seborrheic keratoses do not usually discomfort the patient, although they may sometimes itch, cause pain or bleed, especially if they are located in an area where clothing rubs against them. If removal of the growth or growths is indicated cryosurgery (freezing with liquid nitrogen), curettage(scraping of the skin’s surface) or electrocautery, burning off with electric current may be employed.

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