Over the years, skin-related issues have been on the rise. It is estimated that more than 20% of Americans will develop at least one form of skin cancer before they turn 70. This is why many individuals become concerned by even a single spot of unusual growth on their skin. Many skin-related changes cause more alarm than they merit, with seborrheic keratosis being no exception.
Seborrheic keratosis is not one of those skin issues that will affect your quality of life; it is not a form of skin cancer. Nonetheless, it is advisable to learn about this type of skin growth, its causes, what is involved in seborrheic keratosis treatment, and much more.
Let us take a look at four important facts related to seborrheic keratosis.
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The appearance of seborrheic keratosis
During its initial stage, seborrheic keratosis appears as an oval or round spot on the skin. Seborrheic keratosis can present in different colors, ranging from light tan to brown. In most cases, people mistake seborrheic keratosis for a mole and leave it unaddressed. One aspect that sets seborrheic keratosis apart is that it always has a well-defined border, and it will be raised, flaky, and feel scaly.
Some people have to deal with a single growth of seborrheic keratosis, while others might develop clusters throughout their lifetime. This condition is more common in middle-aged individuals but has also been seen in young adults. The arms, chest, and back are more prone to seborrheic keratosis.
The right time to get treatment
While seborrheic keratosis will not affect you as skin cancer would, being aware that a malignant growth can mimic a benign one is essential. This is because seborrheic keratosis and melanoma, a particularly deadly form of skin cancer, can be challenging to differentiate. If a seborrheic keratosis spot starts growing rapidly, changes shape and size, or starts to bleed, you should begin treatment by consulting the right doctor.
Even if seborrheic keratosis does not significantly affect your health, it can cause irritation, make you feel self-conscious, or cause annoyance. They can even get caught in jewelry or clothing.
The reason behind the appearance of seborrheic keratosis
The condition occurs due to the abnormal buildup of skin cells in the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). Seborrheic keratosis affects a specific type of skin cell known as keratocytes and is more prevalent in those with fair skin, although it can also appear in people with darker skin tones. While researchers are yet to find the main reason behind seborrheic keratosis, it has been seen to run in families. Therefore, genetic factors are believed to play a crucial role in its development.
Apart from age and genetics, several other factors play a crucial role in developing seborrheic keratosis. For example, a person undergoing estrogen replacement therapy might experience extreme hormonal changes, which can promote lesions. The same thing can happen during pregnancy as well.
Seborrheic keratosis treatment
Various treatment options are available for seborrheic keratosis. One of the most common methods used by dermatologists is cryotherapy. In this process, liquid nitrogen is applied directly to the seborrheic keratosis to freeze the lesions completely. The lesions get damaged and fall off automatically.
Besides cryotherapy, electrocautery is a popular technique used by dermatologists to treat seborrheic keratosis. This method uses electrical equipment to apply a low-voltage charge on the seborrheic keratosis spot. This burns away the lesion, and the skin heals spontaneously.