Seborrheic keratoses, also known as basal cell papillomas or seborrheic warts, can develop anywhere on the skin aside from the palms, soles, and mucous membranes. They occasionally affect the face but frequently affect the scalp, torso, neck, arms, and legs. Some have a black appearance but are very dark brown. Although they sometimes resemble warts, seborrheic keratoses are not the same as warts. A virus, like the human papillomavirus, causes warts (HPV). According to Dermnet NZ, seborrheic keratoses are not contagious, and it is doubtful they are caused by HPV or another virus. Usually, seborrheic keratosis symptoms typically start to develop in middle age. And, while some people may only have one growing, most people have multiple.
Why does seborrheic keratosis occur?
Although the actual cause of these growths is unknown, you can look at the situations that frequently accompany them. The first factor is age; seborrheic keratoses are particularly prevalent in those over 50 and frequently worsen with age. According to certain studies, being around light can increase their frequency. They also frequently run in families, suggesting that genetics may be a factor. Lastly, they are neither bacterial nor viral.
Seborrheic keratoses develop gradually, and they may show the following signs and symptoms:
- A round or oval, rough, or waxy lump generally appears on the face, chest, shoulder, or back.
- A scaly growth has a characteristic “pasted on” appearance that is either flat or slightly elevated.
- Various sizes, ranging from tiny to over 1 inch (2.5 cm) across
- A variety of numbers, from a single growth to several growths
- Very small growths grouped on the face also referred to as flesh moles or dermatosis papulosa nigra, are typical of people with Black or Brown skin.
- Various shades of brown or black, from light tan.
Seborrheic keratosis treatment & removal
Seborrheic keratoses frequently don’t require medical attention. Any growths that are uncomfortable or have a suspicious look may be removed by a medical practitioner, though. Your procedure will be carried out by a doctor, dermatologist, or — in some circumstances — a physician assistant.
Seborrheic keratosis can be treated and removed in the following ways:
- Cryosurgery: In cryosurgery, the growth is frozen off using liquid nitrogen.
- Electrosurgery: In electrosurgery, a medical practitioner scraps the growth using an electrical current. Before the process, the region is numbed.
- Curettage: During curettage, a medical professional uses a curette, a surgical tool that resembles a scoop, to remove the tumor. Electrosurgery and curettage are occasionally used in conjunction.
- Shave excision: Curettage is analogous to shaving excision. If they wish to submit a sample of the growth to a laboratory for examination, a medical practitioner may carry out the procedure.
- Ablation: The growth is vaporized during this operation using a specialized laser.
- Hydrogen peroxide solution: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized using Eskata, a 40% hydrogen peroxide, to kill seborrheic keratosis cells. However, a 2019 investigation found that this technique frequently causes skin discomfort.
Remember that it can be challenging to distinguish between skin cancer and seborrheic keratosis symptoms. For this reason, if a person notices a new lesion or if an existing lesion changes in any manner, they should consult a physician.