Halloween seems the perfect time to discuss the ugly barnacles that start to show up on face and body in these otherwise wonderful prime years. Looking at the 10X mirror, I saw the nasty growths along the side of my face and thought, “Oh no, I can’t believe it! I am starting to look like my aunt!” My aunt is 20 years older than me, by the way. But just like I removed her seborrheic keratoses, I will remove seborrheic keratoses on my face and share the treatment with you, the reader.
What are seborrheic keratoses?
Good question. It is a fancy name given to these warty looking growths that tend to pop up with age. That’s right, another birthday present. Nobody knows what causes them or why we get them. Some folks tend to be more prone to them, so there is likely a genetic component. The good news? They are not cancerous and do not turn into cancer. The bad news? They are ugly, and there is nothing we can do to prevent them. Ugh.
There are two layers of skin and these guys tend to hang out in the top most layer so they are superficial, but they can sometimes get very thick and look “stuck on” the skin. They can come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. They can itch, and bleed if irritated. They can be found anywhere. Now, while I said removing seborrheic keratoses is easy, I need to qualify that statement. The problem is that they are prone to returning after removal. That’s right, they are kind of like Freddy Krueger and his immortal line “I’m back!” For this reason, insurance does not usually cover removal. Some patients have so many that removal of all seborrheic keratoses wouldn’t be practical.
So, we are usually removing them for cosmetic reasons, especially when they show up on the face. The easiest way to remove seborrheic keratoses is to freeze them off with liquid nitrogen. A dermatologist is trained to freeze the seborrheic keratoses so as to not leave a scar.
The other advantage of freezing to removing seborrheic keratoses is that the aftercare is simple. You can wash your face as you normally would and cover the spots with makeup. It is important to cover the spots with sunscreen when outside, especially while they are sloughing off because the new skin underneath is susceptible to turning brown from the sun.
After the freezing procedure, the growths will look worse before looking better, so one must be prepared to have scabs on one’s face for about a week. In other words, do not schedule the removal of your seborrheic keratoses the week before your 45th high school reunion.
Come to think of it, October 25th is the perfect time to remove seborrheic keratosis. The scabs will be in place just in time for Halloween to scare the trick or treaters — no special makeup or mask required (hehe). By November, everything will be completely healed and you will be looking lovely at the Thanksgiving table.
The deadline for this article came before the scabs healed so you will have to wait for my November article to see my final results!