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Seborrheic Keratoses - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

By: peterhutch

Seborrheic keratoses are raised growths on the skin. There may be just one or clusters of dozens. Seborrheic keratoses are non-cancerous growths of the outer layer of skin. A main feature of seborrheic keratoses is their waxy, "pasted-on" or "stuck-on" appearance. They may be oval spots a fraction of an inch across, or form long Christmas tree like patterns on the torso inches long. Seborrheic keratosis is one of the most common types of noncancerous (benign) skin growths in older adults. The growth has a waxy, scaly, slightly elevated appearance. Occasionally, it appears singly, but multiple growths are more common. A seborrheic keratosis usually appears as a brown, black or pale growth on the face, chest, shoulders and back.

Seborrheic keratoses builds slowly, in groups or singly. Many people form at least one seborrheic keratosis in their lifetime. The tumors appear as wart-like formations in a different colors. They can appear in numbers on the surface of the body. They are painless and benign, but may creates irritation and itchness. They may be cosmetically disfiguring and psychologically distressing as a consequence.

What causes seborrheic keratoses?

We don't know what causes seborrheic keratoses, although the tendency to develop them may be inherited. It is possible that they are related to sun exposure. They are not contagious, so you cannot give them to someone else. There is no known way to prevent them.

Seborrheic keratoses primarily affect people older than 30. Some women notice that they develop them during pregnancy or after taking estrogen. They are increasingly common in the later decades of life. Children seldom develop these skin growths.

The tumors appear as wart-like growths in a variety of colors. They may appear in large numbers on the surface of the body. They are usually painless and benign, but may become irritated and itch. They may be cosmetically disfiguring and psychologically distressing as a result.

Symptoms

Symptoms are skin growths that:
·Are located on the face, chest, shoulders, back, or other areas
·Are yellow, brown, black, or other colors
·Have a slightly elevated, flat surface
·May have a rough or wart-like texture
·Often may have waxy surface

Diagnosis

Since some seborrheic keratoses appear dark, they may be difficult to distinguish from pigmented growths that are prone to becoming cancerous. Therefore, it is very important that you have a doctor check and ensure that they are seborrheic keratoses. Doctors can usually make an accurate diagnosis upon examination of the skin growth, but a biopsy can be done to make sure in uncertain cases.

Treatments

Cryotherapy, the use of extreme cold to remove seborrheic keratoses. Cryotherapy is the preferred treatment for most seborrheic keratoses. It is effective for flat or slightly raised growths, but may not work well for thicker growths.

Curettage, in which your health professional uses a spoon-shaped instrument (curette) to remove the growth. Regrowth is common after curettage alone.

Cryosurgery: Removal by Freezing

Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and destroy the cells of the seborrheic keratosis but leave the underlying connective tissue intact. This procedure leaves a crust that falls off after several days. There might be a flat scar or lighter colored skin.

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