Keratosis is a group of medical conditions that affect the skin. There are many types of keratosis but the type that will be discussed here is known as hyperkeratotic seborrheic keratosis. This condition has several other names including: keratosis Alba, stucco keratosis, digitate seborrheic keratosis, verrucous seborrheic keratosis, and serrated seborrheic keratosis. The condition causes skin lesions that are mostly dull in color and that have a rough surface caused by projections of cells in the epidermis that resemble church spires observed histologically.
This condition is prevalent among people older than 40 years of age. People who recall having long periods of exposure to the sun are the ones that are mostly affected by this skin condition. Studies have shown that in areas where people carry out most activities exposed to the sun, there is a higher number of people suffering from the condition compared to areas where people are mostly indoors. No studies however have proven for sure that exposure to the sun is the cause of this condition.
Although the condition is not cancerous, many people seek treatment for it because of cosmetic reasons. Hyperkeratotic seborrheic keratosis can cause blemishes on the skin that may be unsightly which has a negative effect on self-esteem of people who have the condition. There are several proven methods that can completely clear seborrheic keratosis with little to no chance of scarring. Some methods can be used at home while others involve a medical procedure. According to doctors, there is no reason to treat the condition as it poses no health risk to a person. Elderly people are however advised to visit a hospital once in a while for doctors to monitor them for any signs of malignancy.
The first medical treatment for hyperkeratotic seborrheic keratosis is surgery. This is a minor operation where the skin affected by seborrheic keratosis is cut off. This method could lead to scarring as well as recurrence.
The other method used to deal with the condition is laser treatment. A high-intensity light beam is focused on the seborrheic keratosis growth. The laser vaporizes the cells affected by the keratosis. A burning sensation may be felt during the surgery and also a few days after the surgery. Topical anesthetic can be used to deal with the pain.
The third method is cryosurgery. Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the keratosis growth. This cuts off blood supply to the growth. After some time, the growth hardens and forms a scab due to the absence of blood and nutrients. It later falls off to leave healthy skin.