A seborrheic keratosis (plural: keratoses) is a dark skin growth that can sometimes be mistaken for a mole, wart, or skin cancer.
While it poses no danger, this skin condition can be uncomfortable and unattractive. However, it can be easily dealt with and treated by a qualified dermatologist.
A seborrheic keratosis begins as a small bump on the skin and grows in size, thickening and darkening. It develops a waxy, scaly look as well. The final keratosis will be brown in color, ranging from very pale to nearly black. It can be tiny or over an inch in diameter. It will not be painful but may itch slightly, and may become irritated if it rubs against clothing. Seborrheic keratoses develop slowly and usually only one or two at a time.
Seborrheic keratoses are not contagious. However, they should not be picked, scratched, or rubbed. It is also notable that one should not try to remove them at home. Doing so can lead to bleeding and possible scarring or infection.
The cause of seborrheic keratoses has not been identified. It may have a genetic component, since they seem to run in families. Sun exposure may also play a role in causing this skin condition, although seborrheic keratoses are not cancerous. They also become more frequent in individuals above the age of 40.
Seborrheic keratoses can be removed in your doctor's office with a variety of techniques. Like a wart, the keratosis can be frozen off with liquid nitrogen or a similar preparation, leaving a scab that heals normally. Your skin care professional may also choose to anesthetize the keratosis and use an electric current or a laser to burn it off. An instrument called a curette can be used to scrape off any pieces left behind, a process called curettage.
Once the keratosis has been removed, it should not return, although others may develop elsewhere on your body. Do not delay in seeking treatment to effectively remove seborrheic keratosis. The Calabasas Dermatology Center offers a variety of successful treatment methods to treat this skin condition and resolve it.
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