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Seborrheic Keratosis (SK’s)

Seborrheic keratosis is a common noncancerous skin growth that is prevalent in older adults. Learn more about options our options to address them.

Seborrheic Keratosis (SK’s) are benign dark spots that show up on the skin as we age. These aren’t spots you’ve had your whole life. They’re most often very dark, if not black, raised, and quite large. There’s often a waxy quality to these dark spots. Brown spots tend to be from sun damage and are quite different in terms of treatment.
At Reflections, doctors perform all of our medical treatments, including SK removal. This is important because you really want someone with the skill and ability to judge if it’s truly just a benign SK before removing it, and then you also want someone removing it who understands how to do it without scarring you (most typically a white spot of hypopigmentation), and then you also want someone who has an assortment of treatment technologies at their disposal, since each laser and technology really only works best for a small subset of people or situations.

Top Asked Questions About SK’s

  • How do you get rid of seborrheic keratosis?
    There are 4 treatment options - the two we like best are Eskata (an intense hydrogen peroxide spot treatment) and lasers. The two other treatments are burning (cauterization) or shaving the surface of the skin with a scalpel. Some dermatologists do still use liquid nitrogen to burn SK's off, but the risk of a white depigmented scar is pretty high with this option, so we do not believe it is one you should consider.
  • Is there an over the counter treatment for seborrheic keratosis?
    Not currently. Some websites mistakenly mention Eskata as OTC, but it is not. Eskata is a 40% hydrogen peroxide (about 10x stronger than what you have at home and dangerous enough to need careful application by a physician).
  • What triggers seborrheic keratosis?
    Doctors and scientists don't quite know what causes seborrheic keratosis to form. There does seem to be some genetic component as it tends to run in families, and age seems to play a role since they are most commonly seen after age 50.
  • Is treatment for seborrheic keratosis covered by insurance?
    Typically, people are having SK's removed because they don't like how they look, and cosmetic treatments are not covered by most health insurance. If you want to try to file for reimbursement, we're happy to provide you with your medical records, but we do not accept payment from insurance or file these claims. This means you would be responsible for paying for the entire procedure and then getting any reimbursement from the insurance company on your own, later on.

What Causes Seborrheic Keratosis?

Doctors don’t really know who will get SK’s, or why they develop.

Aging & Family History

There does seem to be some genetic component, since they tend to run in families and once you have 1, you’re more likely to grow more.

Typical Locations

SK’s are more likely to appear on certain parts of the body, including the face, neck, chest or back.

Our Favorite Treatments For Seborrheic Keratosis

  • Seborrheic Keratosis Treatments
  • Eskata Topical Hydrogen Peroxide Treatment

    Eskata is not currently available from the manufacturer. If and when that changes, we will resume providing this treatment.
    Eskata is the first treatment of its kind to use concentrated hydrogen peroxide in a unique application to completely remove large, dark age spots. Reflections is proud to be among the first in the nation to offer this easy treatment, saving patients from the discomfort and downtime of previous treatment options, which included surgical removal and aggressive lasering.

    Q-Switched Yag Laser

    Our Medlite C6 Q-Switched Yag Laser is best at treating flat SK’s and skin of color.
    You can expect the lesion to be red for a day or two, and to scab up before flaking off. It’s important not to pick at the spot as it heals, to ensure it heals nicely, and to also avoid sun exposure during this time.

    Alexandrite GentleLase Laser

    Our GentleLase Alexandrite laser is best at treating thick, raised SK’s.
    You can expect the lesion to be red for a day or two, and to scab up before flaking off. It’s important not to pick at the spot as it heals, to ensure it heals nicely, and to also avoid sun exposure during this time.

    Why Choose Reflections For Seborric Keratosis Treatment?

    Reflections Center is home to a team of doctors who believe that cosmetic care includes care for the health and aging of the individual. Removing dark spots without knowing what they are is very scary. They could be SK’s, or they could not be. That’s why it’s very important to see a doctor for evaluation before removing any dark spots, including SK’s.

    Next, is knowing that you’ll always be treated by a doctor at Reflections. We don’t believe lasers should be in the hands of people who don’t really understand them at a deep enough level to know there isn’t 1 best laser for treating SK’s – but rather a handful of lasers and treatments, each that provides the best results for a certain type of individual. You’ll find many medspas and even dermatology offices that have 1 laser, often performed by a PA or ARNP or even a nurse, to treat Seborrheic Keratosis. And we feel that kind of treatment really isn’t in the best interest of patients.

    Finally, we offer free consultations with our doctors for this treatment, which you won’t find many other places. We do that because we firmly believe you deserve the information you need in order to make an informed decision about what’s right for you.

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