Symptoms Of Seborrheic Keratosis: Causes & Treatment Options

Seborrheic keratosis is a rather common benign skin growth seen in older individuals. Seborrheic keratosis can be rather unsightly and nasty, but the growths are not cancerous. On the other hand, occasionally, seborrheic keratosis can be difficult to diagnose and differentiate from melanoma, a very serious type of skin malignancy.

If your skin changes all of a sudden, or you see the appearance of growth, you must always have it examined by a health care provider / dermatologist. The condition is usually painless and needs no treatment. Nonetheless, you may opt to have the growths removed if they get inflamed by clothing or for cosmetic purpose.

What Is The Cause Of Seborrheic Keratosis?

Etiological factors and triggers for seborrheic keratosis include:

  • The condition is frequently seen in middle aged people and older individuals. The risk for developing the skin condition increases with age. People of 50 years and above tend to develop seborrheic keratosis.
  • This condition very often runs in families, genetic has a role to play.
  • Sometimes, there is no known cause for the growths.

Signs And Symptoms Of Seborrheic Keratosis

  • Seborrheic keratosis manifests as multiple lesions on the body, though at the initial stage, there may be just one growth. Growths can be found on the – back, chest, shoulders, scalp and abdomen.
  • Growths are not found on the palms and soles.
  • The lesions begin as small, rough areas on the skin. With time, they develop in to a thick, wart-like surface. Often, the growths are described as having a ‘stuck-on’ look.
  • They look waxy and have slightly raised surfaces.
  • The lesions are oval or round.
  • They are typically brown in color, but can also be yellow, white, or black.
  • The lesions may be very small to more than 1 inch in diameter.
  • Sometimes, they itch.
  • Usually, the growths are not painful, but they can be troublesome depending upon the location and size.
  • If you rub or scratch the lesions, they bleed, and in rare cases, infection may develop.

Treatment Options For Seborrheic Keratosis

  • A dermatologist will diagnose seborrheic keratosis by examining the lesion. In case of any doubt, your doctor will excise a small portion of the growth and send it for biopsy. The biopsy will be examined under a microscope. This helps identify the growth as either seborrheic keratosis or malignant melanoma.
  • By and large, seborrheic keratosis does not require any treatment. Nevertheless, your dermatologist may make a decision to get rid of any growths which have a doubtful appearance or are causing you physical or emotional discomfort.
  • There are three commonly used methods of removal for Seborrheic Keratosis – cryo-surgery, electro-surgery, and curettage.
    • When your doctor employs cryo-surgery, the growth is frozen off using liquid nitrogen.
    • Electro-surgery makes use of an electrical current to get rid of the lesion. The area is numbed before the procedure.
    • Curettage is a scoop-like surgical gadget which scrapes the growth. Curettage is occasionally used with electro-surgery.
  • Your skin may appear a little lighter at the site of the excision. This difference in color of your skin tends to become less obvious with time. Usually, seborrheic keratosis does not recur; however, it is possible to develop a new lesion on another part of your body.