How To Get Rid Of Seborrheic Keratosis

What Is Seborrheic Keratosis

Seborrheic keratosis is a type of benign (non-cancerous) skin tumor or growth. These slow-growing spots are typically raised and sometimes have a rough texture, resembling warts. They can vary in number; some individuals may have a single seborrheic keratosis, while others may have several, dozens, or even hundreds of spots on their skin. Importantly, these growths are neither viral nor bacterial and, therefore, cannot spread.

The development of seborrheic keratosis occurs when skin cells, known as keratinocytes, multiply rapidly, resulting in the formation of a non-cancerous growth. This can be influenced by genetic factors, with some individuals having a family history of the condition, while others may develop it due to prolonged sun exposure.

In rare instances, a person may experience a sudden onset of numerous seborrheic keratosis growths. This could potentially indicate the presence of the “Leser-Trélat sign,” which is associated with gastrointestinal cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, or leukemia. It’s essential for anyone suspected of having the Leser-Trélat sign to seek evaluation by a specialist who can accurately diagnose any underlying cancer. However, it’s crucial to note that the Leser-Trélat sign is very uncommon, and the vast majority of seborrheic keratosis growths are slow-growing and benign.

Seborrheic Keratosis
Seborrheic Keratosis

Seborrheic Keratosis Symptoms

Brown growths that range in diameter from a pinhead to half-dollar. They often have a broccoli-like surface. The growths may develop in clusters on the cheeks, where they are called dermatitis papulosa nigra.

What Causes Seborrheic Keratosis

Doctors aren’t certain about the exact cause of seborrheic keratosis, but it’s highly likely that genetics play a significant role, as certain genetic mutations have been associated with the condition. Additionally, factors such as sun exposure and fluctuations in estrogen levels have been linked to the development of seborrheic keratosis.

Potential causes of seborrheic keratosis may include:

  • A family history of seborrheic keratosis
  • Genetic mutations, including those affecting the fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) and PIK3CA genes
  • Pregnancy
  • Hormone therapy

How Is Seborrheic Keratosis Diagnosed

A dermatologist typically diagnoses seborrheic keratosis. The growths are usually identified during a physical examination and confirmed with a biopsy when necessary. Your doctor will also consider your medical history during the diagnostic process.

During the discussion of your medical history, it’s important to inform your doctor about any family history of seborrheic keratosis, prolonged sun exposure, and any hormonal changes such as pregnancy or hormone therapy.

During the physical examination, your doctor may use a dermatoscope, a tool that provides magnification and a glare-free light source, to closely examine the affected area of skin for seborrheic keratosis.

Since certain cancerous conditions, such as basal cell carcinoma and melanoma, can resemble seborrheic keratosis growths, a biopsy may be recommended to rule out more serious conditions. Biopsy involves the removal of skin cells from the growth for laboratory analysis, which helps in confirming the presence of seborrheic keratosis and excluding other potential diagnoses.

How To Treat Seborrheic Keratosis

A seborrheic keratosis typically does not resolve on its own, but treatment is often not necessary. However, you may opt to have it removed if it becomes irritated, bleeds, or if you simply dislike its appearance or feel.

Seborrheic keratosis removal can be accomplished using one or a combination of the following methods:

Freezing the growth: Freezing a growth with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) can effectively remove a seborrheic keratosis. However, it may not always work on raised or thicker growths. There is a risk of permanent loss of pigment, particularly in individuals with Black or brown skin.

Scraping (curettage) or shaving the skin’s surface: Your doctor will first numb the area and then use a scalpel blade to remove the growth. Sometimes, shaving or scraping is combined with cryosurgery to treat thinner or flat growths.

Burning with an electric current (electrocautery): After numbing the area, your doctor will destroy the growth using electrocautery. This method can be used alone or in conjunction with scraping, especially for thicker growths.

It’s important to discuss the risks and benefits of each method with your doctor. Some methods can lead to permanent or temporary skin discoloration and scarring. Additionally, after treatment, you may develop a new seborrheic keratosis elsewhere on your body.

How To Prevent Seborrheic Keratosis

Since the cause is unknown, there is no way to prevent seborrheic Kerasotes.


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