Seborrheic Keratosis

Seborrheic keratosis are brown or black spots that accumulate on the face or trunk over time. They will often have a waxy “pasted on” or “stuck on” appearance. They mainly appear in clusters, but occasionally can be found singly. They typically start off as small, rough growths, and tend to grow larger and thicker of over time. Most people will have a few of these by the time that they are sixty, but they can develop as early as the thirties. Sebborrheic keratoses do not present any health risks and treatment is not required. However, they can interfere by rubbing against clothing or equipment, and are often a source of stress and embarrassment because of their appearance.

Common symptoms of seborrheic keratosis include:

  • Small brown or black growths on the skin
  • Growths often have a distinct waxy, “pasted on” appearance
  • Can be raised or flat
  • Often occur in groups but can be found singly
  • Can be bothersome depending on their size and location

The exact cause of seborrheic keratosis is unknown. It tends to run in families, which suggests that genetics plays a role. There are epidermal growth factors that produce thickening of the epidermis.

Good skin care is essential for maintaining healthy, beautiful skin. Keep your skin clean and clear by using gentle cleansers and exfoliators. Use a daily moisturizer to keep your skin adequately hydrated. Protect your skin from the sun by using a sunscreen that offers protection against harmful UV rays.

As with any skin condition, it’s important to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Here are a few precautions you should consider before spending time outdoors.

Limit sun exposure: Reducing your time in the sun is perhaps the easiest way to avoid damage to your skin caused by UV rays. When outdoors, set a time limit and seek shade when necessary. Also keep in mind that UV radiation is the strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Use Sunscreen: Sunscreens are an essential part of protection against the sun. Sunscreens labeled “Broad Spectrum” are often the most effective and offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure to apply generously and frequently.

Cover and protect: Wrap-around sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and clothing that covers your arms and legs, can offer extra protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Procedures
Small lesions may be removed by procedures such as electrocautery. Larger growths are typically removed by cryotherapy, shave excision, electrodissection or curretage. In most cases, scarring will be minimal.