Keratoses is a word which refers to several skin conditions which leads to formation of bumps on the skin. These bumps vary widely in shape, size, color and causes. Seborrheic keratoses are round or oval scab-like growths on the skin of the victim and may be flat or slightly raised. They are usually found in varying colors ranging from a light tan to black. The size of these keratoses is usually small but may sometimes be bigger than an inch in diameter.
The cause of these keratoses is not known since they are found on both sun-exposed and concealed skin. This means that the general notion that it is ultraviolet light that causes most keratosis growths is discredited. It may however play a role as well as hereditary factors. Psychological stress is known to aggravate the development of preexisting tumors even those that are benign. To extrapolate this medically recognized fact one would say that psychological stress can worsen seborrheic keratosis that was preexistent or trigger formation of new keratoses.
Seborrheic keratoses are mostly found in elderly people and often occur in areas that are usually not exposed to the sun. These keratoses are usually confused with warts but do not have a viral origin. They also appear like a form of melanoma skin cancer but are also unrelated to the condition. Seborrheic keratoses are only found in the outermost layer of the skin and originate from keratinocytes. These are the predominant cells in the outer layer of the skin.
Owing to the location of these growths, they appear to be differently colored mounds that have been stuck on the skin. They do not appear to be part of the skin at all. A biopsy should be conducted on the growths to ensure that the growths are not nodular melanomas which are a cancerous growth of melanocytes. This is especially necessary when the keratoses are darkly pigmented. Seborrheic keratoses that form on the face are very similar to a cancerous condition known as lentigo maligna. This makes the two difficult to differentiate even when a dermatoscopy is conducted.
Once the diagnosis is done and the growth is identified with certainty to be seborrheic keratosis, treatment is not necessary. This is because the condition is not threatening to health and therefore not necessary to treat it. In the case that treatment is needed, small keratoses can be treated by electrocautery. If they are large, cryosurgery may be used, shave excision or a combination of electrodessication and curettage.
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