What is Seborrheic Keratosis?

Known also as Seborrheic verruca and senile wart, Seborrheic Keratosis is a noncancerous growth of idiopathic origin and is the most common benign tumor in older population.

The wart may just be single or may come in clusters of dozens and its size ranges from being tiny to larger than 1 inch in diameter. Usually, they come out as white to light tan and darken to brown or black as time goes by. At first, they are flat but as they grow thicker over time, they rise above the skin surface giving rise to a dome-shaped appearance. The characteristic feature of this skin condition is the waxy, stuck-on appearance, but their texture may become dry, rough and bumpy. When they start appearing on the face, they may become unsightly. This is asymptomatic. However, they can tingle, swell and hemorrhage easily.

The primary cause of Seborrheic Keratosis is yet undecided. Commonly affected are the sun-exposed areas such as the back, arms, face and neck, so perhaps, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays may play a role. The second factor is genetics. Some families have innate predisposition to have these multiple lesions.

After proper diagnosis, no treatment is necessary except in cases where it becomes irritated or unattractive. Remember also that there is no way to prevent new dark spots from forming. Picking at the lesion will just cause a small risk of a localized infection. If the tumor becomes terribly itchy or is irritated by clothing, a mild topical steroid cream can be used. Also, it can be removed by cryosurgery or freezing. If the lesion is small, it can be treated with light electrocautery while larger lesions can be removed by electrodessication and curettage, shave biopsy, or cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen. Except in patients with dark complexion, when properly performed, the removal of seborrheic keratoses will not cause much noticeable scarring.

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Seborrheic Keratosis Pictures

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