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Definition

Seborrhea Keratosis is a skin tumor which develops from the proliferation of keratinocytes of the epidermis .There are two kinds of keratoses, actinic and seborrheic. These harmless growths are very common in middle-aged and older people too. Some people have a hundred or more.  Only one of them is associated with a greater skin cancer risk.

Causes

The direct cause of seborrheic keratoses is unknown. However, they are not caused by exposure to sunlight. In addition they appear after the age of 40 and are hereditary. Seborrheic keratoses may happen during pregnancy, estrogen therapy, or in association with other medical problems.

Symptoms

Seborrheic keratoses are most often found on the chest or back. They can also be found on the scalp, face, neck, or almost anywhere on the body. They appear less often below the waist. They are usually brown, but can vary in color from light tan to black and range in size from a fraction of an inch in diameter to larger than a half-dollar. They are not contagious, so you cannot give them to someone else. There is no known way to prevent them.

Treatment

Treatment of seborrheic keratoses usually isn't necessary. However, you may want them removed if they become irritated, if they bleed because your clothing rubs against them, or if you simply don't like how they look or feel. Because the cause of seborrheic keratoses is unknown, there are no guidelines for protecting yourself from this condition. However, you should have a doctor examine any skin growth that undergoes a change in appearance, such as bleeding or rapid growth.

This lesion is being treated for cosmetic reasons. Liquid nitrogen freezes the lesion, which will necrose and shed in 2-4 weeks. Small round microcysts, which appear as dark spots in this image, are characteristic of seborrheic keratoses. These microcysts can also often be seen as light or yellowish spots if the lesion is moistened.

Another method is called curettage. The growths are removed by "curetting" or scraping them from the surface of the skin. An injection or spray is first used to numb the area before the growth is removed.

Used alone or with curettage, electrocautery can be effective in removing seborrheic keratosis. This procedure can leave scars if it's not done properly, and it may take longer than other removal methods.

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