Any time you notice changes to your skin, it’s a good idea to have them checked out. Seborrheic keratosis is a skin growth that isn’t precancerous but may resemble a cancerous growth. That’s why it’s vital to have a specialist evaluate your skin and rule out other causes.
Medical director Dr. Yvonne Hines leads the team at Hines Dermatology Associates and evaluates and treats common and rare skin conditions such as seborrheic keratosis.
How do I know if I have seborrheic keratosis?
Visiting a skin specialist like Dr. Hines is the best way to know whether you have seborrheic keratosis. Many conditions that affect the skin look similar, but dermatologists have specialized training to differentiate and identify skin conditions. An accurate diagnosis is important for effective treatment.
What does seborrheic keratosis look like?
Seborrheic keratosis looks like a wart or mole. These skin growths are raised and scaly looking, often appearing in clusters. They’re more common as you age and are often dark brown. While they’re usually harmless, it’s still a good idea to have them checked by a professional.
If seborrheic keratosis isn’t harmful, when is treatment needed?
Seborrheic keratosis often appears on the face, back, and chest, which tends to present cosmetic concerns for patients who develop these growths. This is especially true if you have a large cluster of them, or if they cover a large area of the body.
In other cases, seborrheic keratosis may itch significantly, causing discomfort, and distress, as well as interfering with your normal daily activities. When this is the case, Dr. Hines may recommend treatment.
What are the two primary ways of treating seborrheic keratosis?
Cryosurgery and curettage are the two primary treatments for seborrheic keratosis. Let’s discuss these treatments in detail.
Cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen to remove seborrheic keratosis. During this technique, Dr. Hines applies liquid nitrogen, which has a temperature of about minus-320℉, to the skin.
The target area needs to be exposed long enough for it to freeze. This causes a blister to form in the treated area. The outer layer will eventually peel off as new skin develops beneath it.
To remove thicker growths, you may need repeat treatments. The region will likely sting during the procedure and be red and swollen right after. The following day, the blister will develop, and the soreness may persist.
The region will get dark red or brown after a week and appear slightly scabbed over. After two weeks, however, the scab should fall off and the area should be healed.
In a straightforward form of electrosurgery known as curettage, Dr. Hines can remove seborrheic keratosis lesions. A curette is a tool in the shape of a spoon. The process involves scraping off the growth and applying heat to close the blood vessels.
A local anesthetic is injected in the area of the target lesion to keep you comfortable during the procedure. The surface of the wound is then cauterized by applying a high-frequency electric current using a metal tool that is shaped like a pencil to stop the bleeding and remove any leftover tissue.
It can take 2-3 weeks to heal. The resulting scar may initially appear red and raised, but it should fade over time.
Both treatments improve the appearance of seborrheic keratosis. Dr. Hines discusses your case and recommends the treatment that is best for you.
If you’re dealing with a skin problem, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Hines at our Attleboro, Massachusetts, office. Call our office and a team member will assist you in getting scheduled.
You can also book online. We offer in-person and telemedicine appointments.