One of the most common lesions we see are seborrheic keratosis, or SKs.
These benign lesions are often called moles or barnacles and, in fact, are not a mole at all. They are small, raised bumps that can be many different colors and are frequently found on the chest, back, scalp and face.
They can occur almost anywhere on the body except for the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. These spots often appear in middle age adults.
The exact cause is unknown, but they are benign and do not turn into skin cancers.
SKs do tend to be hereditary, with many patients stating they remember their mother, father or grandparents having them as well.
One thing to remember is that these growths are not contagious and cannot spread to others by contact.
Patients often worry when these growths appear, as they can be brown, tan or even black, and are frequently crusty and dry.
They can range from being flat and soft to thick and raised.
Many SKs are easily identified, but some can often appear as skin cancers, especially if they are inflamed and crusty or if they are multicolored and flat.
Although SKs are benign, they can become itchy and irritated by clothing or jewelry.
Typically these growths do not need treatment, but if they do become irritated they can be treated with cryosurgery, electrocautery, curettage, or laser ablation.
Sometimes lesions are very thick and difficult to remove all at once. A portion might remain after treatment. If these become irritaged again, they can be treated again.
Once treated, seborrheic keratosis can sometimes return, and oftentimes more will appear in other areas as well.
Non-irritated lesions should be left alone, as scratching or picking at them can cause inflammation or irritation and could lead to a skin infection.
If you are concerned about a growth or want reassurance, see your dermatologist to have the lesion evaluated.
Caitlin Cleland, PA-C is accepting new patients at the Bluffton office of May River Dermatology.