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Understanding Seborrheic Keratoses

Seborrheic keratoses, also commonly referred to as basal cell papilloma, or seborrheic warts is a common and typically painless condition that might be detected during middle age or in the later years of life.

That said, a lot of people don’t understand what seborrheic keratoses are, and what types of treatment options might be available to them in order to minimize the sometimes unsightly appearance of this otherwise harmless type of skin growth.

As such, this article will address some commonly asked questions about this particular condition as outlined some helpful information that anybody diagnosed with seborrheic keratoses might want to know about.

What Does a Seborrheic Keratosis Look Like?


Seborrheic keratosis is a very common type of noncancerous growth that typically resembles a wart or a mole and will appear somewhere on the body. 

It can show up in a range of colors varying from more pale shades to tan, brown or even blackish tones and sometimes can be described as having a waxy or stuck-on appearance. It may be commonly found on the shoulders, face, chest, back, scalp or genital area, but will never appear on the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands. They are typically round, oval or oblong in shape. Instances of seborrheic keratoses may be confined to as few as one marking or one affected area of the body or in other individuals, there may be thousands of markings spread across the surface of the body.

In the early growth stages, seborrheic keratosis will typically appear as a slightly elevated patch that may or may not be colored, but will often take on darker pigments or grow in size over time. The end result is usually a darkly pigmented patch that will be one to six centimeters in diameter, but the inverse can also be true and in some rare cases the skin will actually lose all pigment in the affected area. Typically, people with darker skin tones will be more inclined to develop darker pigmented patches.

Is Seborrheic Keratoses Dangerous or Harmful?


When people start to notice unusual mole-like markings on their bodies that seem to grow and change, they may be concerned that they have contracted melanoma or another form of skin cancer. As such, it can sometimes feel confused when a dermatologist in Pleasanton or elsewhere assures them that there is nothing to worry about and their health is not at risk as is often the case when people receive a diagnosis of seborrheic keratoses.

In fact, seborrheic keratosis is a very common occurrence. Indeed, it is estimated that over a quarter of the American population can expect to detect at least one instance seborrheic keratosis by the time they reach the age of 40, and the numbers only rise with age. Indeed, three out of four people over the age of 75 can expect to encounter this somewhat baffling condition at least once in their later years. Interestingly enough, it is very rare to find a seborrheic keratosis on anybody under the age of thirty, so age is a major predictive factor when it comes to this particular type of growth.

While it is incredibly rare that seborrheic keratosis is cancerous, the mole-like growth can resemble certain conditions like cancer. In fact, unlike its cousin actinic keratoses which are almost always caused by direct exposure to UV rays, seborrheic keratosis may or may not be related to sun-exposure. Whether or not somebody comes down with the condition is likely much more related to their specific genetic makeup than anything, and as such, there is not much a person can do to prevent developing seborrheic keratosis. That said, it is not contagious and cannot be spread by any form of person to person contact.

However, despite the fact that seborrheic keratosis is almost always a totally harmless condition that will have no negative physical effects on the body, it is still important to get a professional diagnosis in order to differentiate the growth from other more harmful conditions which it may resemble each other in physical appearance. This means that even if a person is not interested in receiving skin treatment in San Francisco, they should still schedule a visit with a board-certified dermatologist in Placerville as soon as possible if they suspect that they are developing seborrheic keratosis.

What Kinds of Skin Treatment in San Francisco are Available?


Anybody who wants to remove a seborrheic keratosis completely has a variety of options depending on the particular shape or extent of the marking. The most common skin treatment in San Francisco for this type of condition entails freezing off the marking with a highly targeted dose of liquid nitrogen. While the procedure will often need to be repeated a few times, it is more often than not very highly effective. In some cases, the mark can be shaven off after a painless numbing procedure.

After a removal procedure, the blistering of the affected area is very common. Some crusting or fluid is to be expected and will clear up in time.

Meanwhile, smaller markings can sometimes be removed simply using a small electric needle. The procedure is quick and straightforward and usually does not require the use of a numbing agent. Laser procedures have also been shown to be highly effective and may be available in certain contexts.

The Takeaway


Seborrheic keratosis may look unsightly, but it is really nothing to worry about in terms of all-around physical health.

That said, anybody wanting to minimize the look of seborrheic keratosis or eliminate a marking all together can talk to a dermatologist in Cameron Park who can detail case-specific treatment options that can be tailored to fit a particular individual’s unique budget and needs, so don’t be afraid to reach out and find out more. Almost all types of skin treatment in San Francisco for this type of condition are not only highly effective but are also relatively quick and painless, although repeat visits may be required to remove the marking completely.

Disclaimer: We are unable to guarantee any result, even though most of our patients do see success. The results of our services will vary greatly to each patient’s level of commitment and compliance with the program.

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