What the hell is Seborrheic Keratosis? I hear you cry! You may well ask. It’s a horrible skin condition which this darn, cruel world has decided to throw at me along with rosacea. Because obviously having rosacea just isn’t enough.
According to Wikipedia’s definition, Seborrheic Keratosis is a benign skin tumour that originates from keratinocytes. Well, that explains it. Suddenly it all becomes clear…
SK is one of the most widespread, non-cancerous, skin lesions in mature adults, and commonly appear on the face, chest, back and trunk. They can be black, brown, tan or skin coloured and have a scaly, elevated, waxy look. Seborrheic Keratosis can be randomly dotted about or appear in clusters, covering an entire area. Most people develop a few as they age, while others can literally be covered in them. And the bugger is that it’s not fully understood what causes them and why some people get more than others. It’s thought that there could a genetic component, so if they run in the family, you’re more likely to get them. This makes sense for me because my dad’s got loads so probably I’ve inherited the condition from him. You can see some images of SK here. They’re pretty grim.
Although SK’s aren’t dangerous as such, they are extremely unsightly and can be uncomfortable when your clothes rub against them. Unfortunately, at the moment, there isn’t any permanent solution. I’ve tried lots of things to get rid of mine, but they just grow back. And I hate them. I mean really hate them; much more than the rosacea. They make me feel ugly and disgusting. That may seem pathetic because let’s face it, there are worse things, however, I’m just being honest. I’ve even resorted to picking them off with my fingernails in moments of despair: they grew back. I want them gone. I know that you can hide them with clothes, but I don’t want to have to hide my skin all the time. It’s not just the way they look either. The theory is that they are made worse by being exposed to the sun, so even if you smother yourself in sunscreen, that isn’t going to protect the SK. So summer becomes a trial. While other people are gaily skipping about on the beach in bikini’s, I’m covered from head to toe in an attempt to protect my skin.
I’ve had some treated with liquid nitrogen at the doctor’s but they too grew back. The only vague success I’ve had is sleeping in a tee shirt soaked in Apple Cider Vinegar. It was a hideous experience; smelly, wet and cold. I mean ACV stinks! Big time. And it stings too. All the little SK’s became really red and itchy, then scabbed up and fell off. I wore the tee shirt every night for about four nights: it was all I could stand. The bigger SK’s were affected, but, I think they probably need a longer amount of time to get rid of completely. I’m not sure if the little one’s have gone for good, and new ones have grown near them or if it’s just the ones I thought I’d got rid of growing back. I thought this winter I’d have another go and document it with photos on the blog (that’s something to look forward to). Really have a go at the little blighters. It might be one of those treatments you have to do every year to stay on top of them. I can’t describe how awful it is to sleep in ACV. But if it helps, then for me, it’s worth it.
I actually discovered this alternative treatment on an SK forum. There are so many people out there desperate to find some kind of cure for this condition and they are willing to try anything. I completely empathise. Some individuals have had success, to a degree, using glycolic acid, hydrogen peroxide and ACV. I tried applying hydrogen peroxide to separate SK’s, which was pretty painful and although it worked on small, individual spots, because I have so many, the ACV treatment seemed to make sense because of being able to treat a large area at once.
I keep hoping someone will invent a cream or ointment that works, but until then going to bed smelling like a fish and chip shop seems to be my best option. I’ll be back later in the year to share the results with you. In the meantime, if anyone reading has had any success getting rid of their SK’s, do let me know. Meanwhile, here’s an interesting article about research going on that could lead to a topical treatment for Seborrheic Keratosis. Finger’s crossed!