Operated by Aclaris Therapeutics

Q&A WITH DERMATOLOGIST EXPERTS

Is it seborrheic keratosis or skin cancer or something else?

When a patient sees a dermatologist for evaluation of a lesion, the dermatologist often can simply look at the lesion and determine whether it’s benign or malignant or a seborrheic keratosis or not. If they’re at all suspicious of that growth, then many times they will do a biopsy.

What can I expect from a biopsy?

A biopsy is a process where the dermatologist evaluates the lesion by removal of all or a portion of the lesion. This is done under local anesthesia, with minimal discomfort. That specimen is then sent to the lab for evaluation.

What causes seborrheic keratosis?

Patients who have seborrheic keratosis will ask “How did I get these?” “Can I prevent them?” Usually we see seborrheic keratosis developing in patients over 25 or 30 years old. There probably is a genetic tendency. There is a component of sun exposure that is probably involved.

Is seborrheic keratosis contagious?

Seborrheic keratoses are not transmitted like warts are, from one person to another. But there is a genetic tendency for certain people to develop them, so they might think that maybe they are contagious on their own bodies, but they are not.

Will I get many more seborrheic keratoses with age?

If you have a seborrheic keratosis at 25 or 30, will you have 100 of them when you’re 80? And will SKs continue to enlarge with time? Some patients will develop more over their lifetime, and some patients don’t.

Does cryosurgery cause pigmentary changes?

Occasionally, after treatment with cryotherapy, the area can remain red or brown. This redness can last for weeks or months. Sometimes it heals just fine. But patients very often do lose their pigment and end up with white discoloration in the areas that were treated.

How seborrheic keratosis appears in African Americans?

In African Americans, seborrheic keratoses have two different appearances. The first occur on the face, and they are called dermatosis papulosa nigra. We abbreviate it DPNs. So they are very small growths that protrude from the surface of the skin.

How and why should I find an expert on seborrheic keratosis?

The best way to find a physician who is an expert in the treatment of seborrheic keratosis is to contact the American Academy of Dermatology. They have a great website. It’s www.aad.org. Well, there are several reasons to see your dermatologist if you have seborrheic keratosis.