Although they look unsightly, seborrheic keratosis are benign growths that occur as we age. Due to exposure to the sun, they can range from smooth waxy tan marks to dark scaly masses that appear far more serious than they actually are.
Interestingly, there seems to be no consensus on why or how they occur. It is known that the occur primarily on the back or chest and that they can suddenly appear for no apparent reason. Many times they appear as scaly brown lesions that would make one think instantly of cancer, however, on examination a dermatologist will usually just let them be because they are benign.
And while it is known that they are the result of sun damage to the skin, there are also appears to be a heredity factor in them as well as they appear in seborrheic keratosis scales appear to run in families so if your family has a history of them then the chances are that you will also experience one or more during your lifetime.
Indeed, research has shown the seborrheic keratosis will occur at least once during a lifetime and there really is no way to keep it from getting worse. It will appear as a growth and may ultimately fall off or, if it remains, it can be removed by several medical procedures.
The least effective seems to be curettage where a dermatologist will use a spoon-like device and a local anesthetic and will remove the growth from the surface. Doctors have found, though, that they will tend to grown back unless it is combined with another form of therapy, such as electrodessication where a small current is passed through the growth so that it is literally burned away while the curettage is being performed.
For the most part, though, you will find doctors shying away from direct intervention unless you are experiencing pain or bleeding from the growth. These growths can bleed due to irritation and can become unsightly, however, since they are usually covered by clothing, most doctors would prefer to leave them alone.
If you do opt for removal it will take several days to heal and you will have to follow your dermatologist’s advice closely to prevent infection and other problems. Also, realize that as you age the healing process will take longer.
Finally, seborrheic keratosis appears linked to age as they sometimes appear later in life.