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Keratosis Specialist

Integrated Dermatology

Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Dermatology located in Quincy, MA & Plymouth, MA

Skin bumps and patches aren’t always cause for concern, but you might want to explore treatments for them if you’re unhappy with the way your skin looks. At DermASAP in Plymouth and Quincy, Massachusetts, the dermatology team evaluates your keratosis to accurately diagnose you before finding a fitting treatment. To learn more about keratosis and available treatments, call DermASAP or book an appointment online today.

Keratosis Q & A

What is keratosis?

Keratosis is a general term for skin growths or lesions that develop because of an overgrowth of keratin, a protein in your hair, nails, and skin. There are several types of keratosis, most of which are usually harmless. 

However, it’s possible for some of them to develop into skin cancer. All forms of keratosis originate in the surface layer of your skin, called the epidermis.

Your provider evaluates your skin and takes note of the characteristics of your keratosis. Your official diagnosis might be:

Keratosis pilaris

Keratosis pilaris causes tiny red bumps on your skin that aren’t painful or uncomfortable. They occur when the pores in your skin clog with keratin and are very common on the backs of the arms.

Seborrheic keratosis

Seborrheic keratosis is a noncancerous, noncontagious type of growth. It can be black, brown, or tan, slightly raised, and scaly in texture. 

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis, or solar keratosis, is a rough or scaly area of skin. It develops because of years of sun exposure and can turn into skin cancer in some instances. 

When should I see a doctor for keratosis?

Most cases of keratosis aren’t harmful, but you might not like the way they look. In any case, you should follow the general rules of dermatology and book an appointment at DermASAP if you notice new or changing skin lesions or features. 
You should also schedule an evaluation for keratosis in any of the following instances:

  • You have many skin lesions
  • Your lesions bleed easily
  • The lesions are itchy or irritable
  • You don’t like the way your skin looks with keratosis

Most of the time, your provider can make an accurate diagnosis right away just by looking at your skin. If they’re unsure which type of keratosis you have or if they suspect it might be cancerous, they may perform a biopsy after a numbing injection. 

During a biopsy, they remove a sample of cells from the keratosis lesion and test it in a lab.

What are my treatment options for keratosis?

Your treatment for keratosis depends on the type and severity of the condition. If you have a mild form, like keratosis pilaris, your provider can direct you to ointments, creams, and other topical products that can remove dead skin cells or prevent follicle clogging. 

If you have keratosis lesions like seborrheic keratosis or actinic keratosis, your treatment might be a bit more complex. You should avoid picking at or attempting to remove the lesions yourself. If you wish to remove the lesions, your provider might recommend:

  • Cryosurgery (freezing)
  • Electrocautery (burning)
  • Curettage (scraping)
  • Ablation (vaporizing with a laser)
  • Photodynamic therapy (applying light-sensitive chemicals before light exposure)

If the keratosis is cancerous, your treatment might involve other steps and procedures.

To find out more about the various types of keratosis and review treatments for them, call DermASAP or book an appointment online today.