Seborrheic Keratosis, also known as Seb K’s, are skin lesions that appear in adults. Unlike actinic keratosis, Seb Ks are benign and not related to sun exposure. They tend to be hereditary and while they may look dangerous; varying in size and color, seborrheic keratoses are harmless. Be aware, however, that Seb Ks appearance can closely resemble melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer, and should be checked by your doctor. Again, Seb Ks may resemble cancerous growths, but will never become cancerous.
Seborrheic Keratosis Characteristics
Seborreheic keratoses may look like warts, but there are some easy ways to differentiate them. Seb Ks look as though superficially attached to the top layer of the skin. They appear as though they may simply be picked off. By contrast, warts extended deep into the skin and are attached around all edges. Seb Ks may itch or become red and irritated when picked at, but ultimately are not harmful. They may also multiply and spread locally, seborrheic keratoses are not contagious. In the instance in which several Seb Ks seem to appear rather suddenly, a doctor should be consulted, as this may be an indication of a more serious health condition. The same rule applies as a precautionary measure should a presumed Seb K become unusually irritated, changes in appearance or bleeds.
Seborrheic Keratosis Prevention
Currently there is no way of preventing seborrheic keratosis. There are suspected hormonal triggers such as estrogen therapy or pregnancy. Seborrheic Keratosis also tends to run in families. While there are several “home remedies” on the market, there are no known cures or preventative creams or ointments that have been proven safe or effective.
Seborrheic Keratosis Treatment
Ideally, the best option for treating Seborrheic Keratosis is no treatment. Leaving them alone indefinitely poses no health risks. There are options should seborrheic keratoses become an unacceptable annoyance or cosmetic issue. The following methods are considered the some of the most effective for the removal of Seb Ks:
• Cryosurgery (freezing) using liquid nitrogen applied directly to the Seb K.
• Cutterage (surgical removal)
• Electrosurgery using an electrical current to burn and scrape off the growth
Removal should be done by a doctor or dermatologist and approached with the understanding that process may result in scarring. The American Academy of Dermatology (www.aad.org) can offer more in depth treatment information along with resources for dermatologists.