Seborrheic keratosis – How to identify and treat the condition

November 12, 2012

Seborrheic keratosis – How to identify and treat the condition

Seborrheic keratosis is a condition which begins in the epidermis. The exact place is in the keratinocyte which is actually the biggest part of the epidermis. The result of having seborrheic keratosis means that lumps similar to warts grow on the surface of the skin. The lumps are benign and are also known by other names such as senile warts, barnacles, seborreic verrucas and senile keratosis. Generally the condition becomes more pronounced as people grow older, in the same manner as liver spots can become more prominent. The condition seborhheic keratosis displays itself in various ways. Sometimes the spots are tiny, in other patients they may be up to one inch across and the coloration varies between light tan to black. The name is drawn from the word seborrhea which means skin disorder, in particular causing red scaly and itchy skin, and it is the area of the sebum gland which is affected. Keratosis is drawn from keratinocyte which is a part of the epidermis responsible for keratin creation, The -osis is a common medical term which indicates that something is abnormal. Seborrheic keratosis can appear similar to a melanoma skin cancer or a wart and it often appears like it has been stuck on to the skin yet the majority of the lump is unseen within the skin. The reason for people developing seborrheic keratosis is still unknown but because it generally appears on the areas of the body subjected to sunlight there is a suspicion that sunlight somehow affects some cells in the body of the sufferer, although genetics has not been discounted yet. The common areas to be affected are the arms, face, head and neck. The appearance of the spots is quite similar to cysts and to confirm seborrheic keratosis a biopsy must take place. This confirms the presence of the condition for which there is no known cure. Although there is no cure there are different treatments which respond differently to each individual. Cryosurgery helps when the condition is very itchy and for the smaller spots it appears that electro-cauterization is the best. For those suffering with larger spots and lesions then treatments like electro desiccation, shave excision and curettage appear to be more successful. The amount of scarring caused by the condition depends on the treatment and the severity and variety of the lesions. It is always best to see a skin specialist as soon as anything untoward appears on the skin.

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