What is Seborrheic Keratosis?
Seborrheic keratosis is a very common skin growth in older adults. Most often it looks like a warty brown mole, is round or oval, and appears to have been stuck on the skin (also called stucco keratosis). Patients often refer to them as skin barnacles. It is considered noncancerous and benign. It usually looks like a brown, black, or tan growth, but can sometimes be flesh colored, white, or pink. They can appear anywhere on the body, often on the face, chest, shoulders, or back. It can also have a scaly, elevated, and waxy appearance. Seborrheic keratosis can be deceiving when first spotted and confused for skin cancer. On the contrary, they are not linked to exposure to the sun. Seborrheic keratosis, or the plural “keratoses,” are often painless and don’t usually require treatment, but some people decide to have them removed for cosmetic reasons. If this is the case in your situation, rest assured that Skin Cancer Consultants of Dallas, TX is comprised of a team of board-certified and extremely skilled medical professionals available to help you identify and address this skin condition.
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Seborrheic keratoses aren’t usually painful, but can be uncomfortable if snagged by your clothing or can cause insecurities when inconveniently located. Be sure not to pick at them or scratch them since this could cause swelling, bleeding, or infection. The lesions aren’t contagious and tend to run in families, so genetic predisposition may also be a factor. If you notice that they appear to be suspiciously evolving or they start to bleed on their own, an appointment with Skin Cancer Consultants may be in order. If you are over 35 years of age, the odds of you developing seborrheic keratosis is greater as well.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Our skilled team at Skin Cancer Consultants can diagnose a seborrheic keratosis usually by simply looking at it. If removal is called for, there are various methods which may be employed. Our first choice for removal is to shave the lesion off flat with the surface. This technique usually removes the entire lesion and rarely produces significant scarring. Another option is freezing it off with liquid nitrogen. This is called cryosurgery and is an effective way to remove a seborrheic keratosis. It's important to note that it doesn’t usually work as well on a raised seborrheic keratosis and may lighten that area of the skin. You can also opt for vaporizing the seborrheic keratosis with a laser (called laser ablation). Electrocautery (burning it off with electric current) is another procedure but can leave a larger scar.
What to Expect
Since seborrheic keratosis' initial presentation may be similar to a cancerous lesion, we recommend you schedule to be seen at our facility. At this appointment, the lesion and surrounding area will be closely examined for symptoms of more serious skin conditions. In most situations, a trained eye will be able to determine the diagnosis within a matter of minutes. In some situations, a biopsy may be taken to confirm that the growth is benign. Afterward, our medical team will discuss your options for removal as well as how we can minimize scarring, or repair the skin if scarring becomes unsightly.
Plan Your Procedure
Schedule Your Screening
There are many different types of this skin condition such as common seborrheic keratosis, reticulated seborrheic keratosis, stucco keratosis, clonal seborrheic keratosis, irritated seborrheic keratosis, seborrheic keratosis with squamous atypia, pigmented seborrheic keratosis, dermatosis papulosa nigra, and inverted follicular keratosis. Regardless, it is vital to get regular screenings at Skin Cancer Consultants so Dr. Parker can confirm if a particular lesion is indeed a seborrheic keratosis of some variety, and not melanoma or another type of skin cancer. It can be difficult to distinguish one dark lesion from another, and while it is important for you to conduct your own monthly skin exams, we recommend you schedule a consultation at our facility at your earliest convenience to report any new findings.