How Can I Prevent Seborrheic Keratoses and Remove the Ones I Have?

I am 47, fair skinned, red headed with freckles. I have an alarming amount of small seborheic keratoses on my entire stomach, from under my breasts to my privates, under my arms, both of my sides and lower back. They are all pin dot to pin head size, but quite alot. Thousands. How do I get rid of so many? A laser peel? A chemical peel? How many peels would I need? Also, how do I prevent more from growing? I can see tiny pindots of keratoses starting on my upper!!

Doctor Answers 5

Treating and preventing seborrheic keratoses

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Unfortunately, you cannot prevent the development of seborrheic keratoses. Age and genetics seem to be the only identified factors involved in developing seborrheic keratoses, neither of which you can effect. Sun does not play a role. It is critical to have a dermatologist to assess your skin lesions to make sure they are simply these "granny warts" as they used to be called, as opposed to a skin cancer like melanoma. Treatment from your dermatologist will depend on the size of the lesion, location, and your skin type. Your dermatologist may laser them or use liquid nitrogen or excise them depending on several factors.

Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

Seborrheic Keratoses Removal

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Most often Seborrheic Keratoses can be taken off with simple procedures like liquid nitrogen (freezing), currette, or small shave biopsies. It depends on their location and size. And truly, it depends on whether or not it's really Seborrheic Keratoses or something else. I'd suggest you visit a dermatologist for an evaluation of your skin, but definitely, chemical peels will not work to remove them.

See a dermatologist about any skin bumps or keratoses.

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From what you describe, it sounds like these may not be seb keratoses and are such treated entirely differently. Please see a dermatologist for evaluation.  There are several other conditions that can mimic seb keratoses.  Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

The best way to remove seborrheic keratoses is with erbium yag laser.

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I have removed thousands of seborrheic keratoses over the past 14 years with the erbium yag laser.  This is absolutely the best treatment in my hands with excellent cosmetic results, minimal discomfort and the fastest healing time.   On several patients, I removed over 1000 lesions  in three separate sessions using only topical anesthetic.  The erbium laser is a very precise instrument that allow careful removal of the lesions with little or no risk of scarring. 

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Seborrheic keratoses can be removed with liquid nitrogen, curettage or shave excision

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Multiple seborrheic keratoses (SKs) are a common cosmetic problem.  Unfortunately, there is no cream, pill or laser that prevents them.  Peels or tretinoin cream may thin them, so they feel a bit smoother, but are not likely to completely remove them.

I usually remove larger SKs with light curettage or shave excision under local anesthesia.  This is best for people with a few, larger SKs.  Each one must be injected with local anesthetic, and is then scraped off in a controlled manner.  You are left with a raw spot which is bandaged and heals very nicely without a scar.

It sounds like you have multiple tiny ones.  These are best treated with a quick spray of liquid nitrogen on each one.  In general, each one will raise up like a bug bite, then peel off over a week or two.  It may require 3 or 4 sessions of treating them until they are all gone.  This also heals very nicely with no scar.

Unfortunately, you will probably get more in the future, it is just in your genetics or skin type.  But at least this will treat the ones you have, and you can get new ones treated with liquid nitrogen every year or two. 

This is a cosmetic treatment and not generally covered by insurance.  There are exceptions to this: most PPOs and Medicare will cover treatment if they are inflammed, irritated on the braline or waistline.  It doesn't sound like that is the case for you.  In general, in my office the cost is $250-$350 per treatment of multiple SKs with liquid nitrogen.

Anne Marie McNeill, MD, PhD
Newport Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.