Seborrheic Keratosis

While not dangerous to your health, seborrheic keratosis growth can be irritating or a cosmetic concern. These growths are especially common among older adults and can easily be removed by a qualified dermatologist. If you notice a seborrheic keratosis, call Dr. Damstetter at Reserve Dermatology to learn more about your treatment options.

What is a Seborrheic Keratosis?

Seborrheic keratosis is a type of noncancerous (benign) skin growth. They tend to appear on older patients, though patients of any age may develop a seborrheic keratosis. These growths are not contagious and do not pose health concerns. However, many patients choose to have them removed for cosmetic reasons or because they become irritating.

Symptoms of a Seborrheic Keratosis

A seborrheic keratosis growth typically resembles a wart. It may be waxy or scaly in texture. These growths are most commonly found on the face, chest, shoulders, or back. They may grow singularly, but it is more common for patients to have multiple seborrheic keratoses. An oval or round shape is common, and it may range in size up to over an inch in diameter. Seborrheic keratoses are notable for their “pasted on” appearance. In some cases, they may begin to itch or become irritated, especially if they frequently catch or rub on clothing or jewelry. If you notice that your seborrheic keratosis bleeds, grows rapidly, or develops sores that do not heal, you should schedule an appointment with a qualified dermatologist like Dr. Damstetter. While seborrheic keratosis is not harmful, certain types of skin cancer can be similar in appearance. For this reason, it is important to have the growth examined.

Causes of Seborrheic Keratoses

The exact cause of seborrheic keratoses is unknown. However, it is believed that genetics play a role, as the growths typically run in families. You may be more likely to develop a seborrheic keratosis if you are over age 50 and have a family history.

Your Expert

Liz Damstetter, MD

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Seborrheic Keratosis Diagnosis and Treatment Options

In most cases, Dr. Damstetter can diagnose a seborrheic keratosis through a visual examination alone. In some situations, she may recommend other diagnostic tests to rule out other, more serious conditions. This typically involves removing the seborrheic keratosis to examine it under a microscope.

Treatment for seborrheic keratosis is not typically necessary unless you choose to have it removed to relieve irritation or itching or for cosmetic reasons. If this is the case, several treatment options are available. These include:

  • Cryosurgery, or freezing the seborrheic keratosis using liquid nitrogen
  • Curettage, or scraping the surface of the skin to remove the growth
  • Electrocautery, or burning the seborrheic keratosis away using an electric current
  • Ablation, or removing the growth using lasers
  • Hydrogen peroxide application

Each of these options can be completed quickly and require no downtime. As needed, Dr. Damstetter will give you care instructions to heal any incisions or wounds and avoid infection following your seborrheic keratosis removal.

Schedule an Appointment

To learn more about safe and effective seborrheic keratosis removal, schedule an appointment with Dr. Liz Damstetter. Call Reserve Dermatology in Glenview, IL or contact us online to set up your appointment.

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