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 Seborrheic Keratosis

Seborrheic keratosis is a common skin growth among older adults. Seborrheic keratosis usually appears as a round, flat or slightly raised spot on the skin that is brownish in color. It can appear as a single growth, but is usually found in clusters. Clinically, seborrheic keratosis is described as waxy or scaly in appearance, with a characteristic "pasted on" look. Formations can vary in size from very small to one inch in diameter. The irregular shape of seborrheic keratosis can often be confused with warts, moles or melanomas.

 How can I distinguish among warts, moles, melanomas or seborrheic keratosis?

Seborrheic keratosis can often be mistaken for warts, moles or melanomas. Distinctions include the following:

 Seborrheic KeratosisWartsMolesMelanomas
AppearanceSingle or clustered, flat or raisedClusteredSingleSingle or clustered
OriginAbnormal epidermal growthVirusAbnormal epidermal growthAbnormal epidermal growth
AgeUsually lateAnyYoung (at or near birth)Usually middle or late
AreasAnywhereAnywhereAnywhereSun-exposed areas
Resolves over timeNoYesNoNo

Skin growths can be clinically biopsied for a specific diagnosis. A healthcare professional should be consulted for any growths that get irritated, bleed, or continue to grow and develop into sores that don't heal.

Seborrheic keratosis affects the epidermal layer of the skin and is caused by localized abnormal cell growth. Histologically, seborrheic keratosis shows a proliferation of keratinocytes that trigger melanocytes, accounting for the slightly raised, scaly, and discolored appearance. Reductions in normal cellular function and dermal repair are typically associated with the aging process and are considered contributing factors in the development of seborrheic dermatosis.

 How is seborrheic keratosis treated? Do they work?

Seborrheic keratosis does not require treatment, unless it is unslightly (when on the face) or causes irritation (when on the neck, back, or shoulders).

Seborrheic keratosis is usually excised with a surgical procedure, such as scraping, laser, or cryosurgery. Alpha hydroxy peels, specifically glycolic acid peels, are considered a nonsurgical alternative to remove seborrheic keratosis superficially with little to no scarring.

Glycolic acid is the preferred form of AHA in topical applications because it is a small, water-soluble molecule, better able to penetrate the epidermal layer. Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and promotes keratolysis (exfoliation) which also stimulates collagen synthesis for repair and rejuvenation of the underlying tissue. As our body matures, cellular processes slow down; glycolic acid stimulates the skin's own natural mechanisms to shed the epidermal layer and to reduce pigmentation variance.

High concentrations of glycolic acid can cause burns and irritation. KAVI Glycolic Acid products are available in highly purified therapeutic concentrations and contain a buffered formulation to reduce the risk of burns. All KAVI Glycolic Acid treatments are prepared with naturally soothing witch hazel to reduce inflammation (instead of SD alcohol which can dehydrate the tissues). For more information on choosing the appropriate glycolic acid product, click here.

 What can I expect from treatment?

Surgery yields a high success rate, however it is expensive, painful, and does require a longer recovery window. It does not reduce the chance of recurrence and may be impractical for sustained results. Glycolic acid significantly reduces the appearance of seborrheic keratosis and also can reduce the rate of recurrence. Treatment cycles typically run six to eight weeks. Dryness and sensitivity to sunlight are common side effects to glycolic acid treatment, and regular use of moisturizers and sun block applications are recommended. Maintenance regimens that include KAVI Anti-Aging Systems, serums, cleansers, and moisturizers promote sustained results and help maintain healthy dermal function. All KAVI products are formulated with natural ingredients that invigorate cellular processes to safely and effectively restore your skin's natural balance and beauty.

 How can I prevent seborrheic keratosis?

The exact etiology of seborrheic keratosis is unknown, and since it appears with maturity, genetics and the aging process are believed to affect a person's predisposition to the condition. An anti-aging regimen designed to restore and support dermal repair and rejuvenation, along with sunblock protection, are prudent options.

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