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What causes seborrheic keratosis?
In its most basic form, keratosis is a form of skin growth, often confused with keratosis pilaris; seborrheic keratosis are a completely different in appearance. While they do appear unusual, like a burn the growths themselves are not harmful.
Scientists have still not identified a specific cause for keratosis. However, there are various risk factors involved with their development. These growths are often attributed to extensive exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet light can potentially be a link, however keratosis can also grow in places that are seldom exposed to sunlight.
Genetics can play a role in the formation of keratosis. Genetic mutation is a theory held by various scientists regarding the development of these grown. Additionally, the likelihood of developing these growths increases with age.
How are keratosis growths diagnosed?
A clinical examination is generally the most common way to identify seborrheic keratosis.
The lesions can appear in different ways, from an individual growth to a group of growths. They can appear in a variety of areas, predominantly on the face however they can appear on areas such as on the back, thighs, calves, scalp and neck. In some cases seborrheic keratosis can change shape and colour and as such a biopsy is required to confirm the condition to determine the possibility of a skin cancer. During these instances, it is imperative to have a doctor perform a biopsy on the affected area. The issue lies in that keratosis is often times difficult to distinguish from cancerous melanoma which affects more than 10,000 Australians each year.
What does seborrheic keratosis look like?
Keratosis can usually be identified by appearance. The most common locations are the scalp, shoulders, chest and back. The texture of these growth varies, however, they initially appear as small bumps which gradually develop and thicken. They then take the form of something akin to a wart in appearance. Their shape is usually oval or round and are mainly brown in colour although they can appear yellow, black or white.
Treatment options for keratosis
Here at Cosmetic Medical Clinic, we utilise a combination of treatments for the removal of keratosis. The treatment method varies from case to case however, we predominantly use the following:
CO2 Full Ablative Q-Switched laser – The Co2 Full Ablative procedure delivers a laser through a range of narrow wavelengths that are able to target the area to rise the temperature that in turn results in full tissue ablation. After this, the body’s natural healing process replaces the damaged tissue with healthy tissue. This procedure has been considered as the cosmetic industry’s gold standard.
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