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Seborrheic keratosis are non-cancerous growths on the skin's surface. These growths are often brown, black, or light tan and have a waxy, scaly, or warty texture. They can vary in size, ranging from a few millimetres to several centimetres in diameter. Seborrheic Keratoses commonly appear on the face, chest, shoulders, back, or other areas exposed to sunlight.

Seborrheic Keratosis, often abbreviated as SK, is a common non-cancerous skin growth that primarily affects older adults. While these growths are typically harmless, they can cause concern due to their appearance, often being mistaken for warts, moles, or even skin cancer.

Seborrheic keratosis are non-cancerous growths on the skin’s surface. These growths are often brown, black, or light tan and have a waxy, scaly, or warty texture. They can vary in size, ranging from a few millimetres to several centimetres in diameter. Seborrheic Keratoses commonly appear on the face, chest, shoulders, back, or other areas exposed to sunlight.

What Causes Seborrheic Keratosis?

While the exact cause of seborrheic keratosis remains unclear, several factors may contribute to their development:

  1. Age: Seborrheic keratoses are more prevalent in older adults, typically appearing after the age of 50.
  2. Genetics: There may be a genetic predisposition to developing these skin growths, as they often run in families.
  3. Sun Exposure: Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight may play a role in the development of seborrheic keratosis.

What do SK feel like?

The primary symptom of seborrheic keratosis is the presence of one or more growths on the skin’s surface. These growths may vary in colour, size, and texture but typically have a characteristic appearance. Other symptoms may include itching or irritation if the growths rub against clothing or jewelery.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing seborrheic keratosis typically involves a visual examination by a GP or dermatologist. In some cases, a skin biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other skin conditions, such as skin cancer.

While seborrheic keratosis does not usually require treatment, individuals may choose to have them removed for cosmetic reasons or if they become irritated or symptomatic. NHS rarely treats SK so private treatments are required. Treatment options include:

  1. Cryotherapy: Freezing the growths with liquid nitrogen to destroy them.
  2. Curettage: Scraping the growths off the skin’s surface.
  3. Electrosurgery: Burning the growths with an electric current, this is the most popular treatment option and available here
  4. Topical Treatments: Prescription creams or gels may help reduce the appearance of seborrheic keratosis.

Preventing Seborrheic Keratosis

While it may not be possible to prevent seborrheic keratosis entirely, minimising sun exposure and protecting the skin from UV radiation can help reduce the risk of developing these growths. This includes wearing SPF sunscreen, protective clothing, and seeking shade during peak sunlight hours.

Seborrheic Keratosis is a common and typically benign skin condition that primarily affects older adults. While they may cause concern due to their appearance, these growths are generally harmless and do not require treatment unless symptomatic. If you notice any changes in your skin or have concerns about skin growths, it’s essential to consult with a dermatologist for proper evaluation and management.

Sophia Wyatt – Advanced Skin Specialist

Remember, maintaining good skin health through regular skincare practices and sun protection can help keep your skin looking and feeling its best.

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