Seborrheic Keratoses – Bothersome Barnacles of the Skin!

Seborrheic keratoses of the back. Photo by James Heilman MD

One of the most frequent growths that brings patients into the office are seborrheic keratoses.  Frequently mistaken for moles, they are most commonly brown “stuck-on” growths that can occur essentially anywhere on the body.  They tend to arise in adulthood and have a likely genetic inheritance.  Most of my patients refer to them as barnacles, nuisance growths, age spots, or “moles.”

So now the important question… how do you get rid of them?

Seborrheic keratoses can be frozen off by a process called cryotherapy, scraped (curetted) off, cut out (not usually optimal), or burned off with an electric needle if small.  If they are pretty flat, lasers can be used to remove them as well.  Be careful how you get them removed though. I have seen patients left with bad darkening or lightening of the skin as well as scarring after removal.  As with most cosmetic procedures, it’s best not to be tan in general during the procedure as that could increase risk of pigmentary change of the skin.  If you are concerned about a particular growth or interested in removal, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist who can evaluate the growth to 1) make sure it is indeed a benign growth, and 2) counsel you on the best way to remove the growth.

Review: AD RescueWear RescueSuit

The AD RescueWear RescueSuit is a body suit made of soft stretchy Tencel (R) that covers your baby or child neck down.  Conceived by eczema mom Beth Scott, it is designed as an aid for wet wrapping for eczema, and can also be used for dry wrapping.  It features fold over mitts to cover the hands when needed as well as fully enclosed feet.  The neck down full coverage is important in providing a protective layer from scratching.

The Tencel (R) fabric is excellent for gently hugging your child’s skin.  Traditionally, parents have used tight fitting cotton pajamas for wet wrapping.  However, I have yet to find cotton pajamas which are able to fit a child’s body as well as this RescueSuit.  Additionally, the wet cotton pajamas end up heavy, bulky and bunchy when used for wet wrapping.  This RescueSuit molds to the body so that the damp fabric is right next to the skin and really is superior for wet wrapping.  Another benefit I have found of the body molding RescueSuit is that bulky diapers do not rub against thighs as much — this sort of rubbing can incite eczema and itch.

This suit can also be used for dry wrapping and worn day to day.  It is an added protective layer to protect the skin from scratching and because of the body molding fit, can easily fit under outer garments.

The AD RescueWear RescueSuit is very helpful for those of you whose children benefit from wet wrapping.  Watch the YouTube demo on how to wet wrap with the RescueSuit.  You may have to practice a couple of times to become as adept at putting the suit on as the mom in the video.

The AD RescueWear RescueSuit retails at $105.  You may want to have a couple on hand as they are delicate and should be air dried flat, so that would cost a couple hundred dollars.  The suit costs significantly more than cotton pajamas, but at the same time, they are actually designed for wet and dry wrapping.  Check out the AD RescueWear website as well as The Eczema Company’s website to look for sales and promotions.

All in all, as a dermatologist and eczema mom, I found the AD RescueWear Rescue Suit to be a helpful item to have and would recommend it to other parents of children with eczema.

For the month of March, use the code DERM10 to receive 10% off from The Eczema Company.

Review: ScratchMeNot Flip Mitten Sleeves

The ScratchMeNot Flip Mitten Sleeves are a unique way of protecting little ones’ nails and fingers from damaging their own skin, hair and nails.  An alternative to traditional mittens, they are worn like a shawl over the child’s normal clothing.  The ends can flip open or closed.  When closed, the exterior of the mitten is silk.  When open, the exterior of the mitten is cotton.  The shawl part of the sleeve is a blend of organic bamboo viscose, organic cotton and lycra.  They are available for babies and children ranging from 3 months to 6 years old.

These sleeves are useful for babies and children who scratch themselves, especially those with eczema or atopic dermatitis, or other skin issues.  They are also useful for children who pull out hair or have a habit of nail biting.  The ScratchMeNot Flip Mitten Sleeves were designed by  eczema mom Andrea Thomas and it shows.

I really like these sleeves and here’s why:

– The external silk mittens are gentle on skin. I have yet to find baby and kid mittens that are made of silk.  The traditional mittens and flip sleeves attached to onesies are cotton.  Silk is much smoother and decreases the amount of damage rubbing can do to the skin.  Even rubbing with cotton can lead to thickening (what we call “lichenification” in dermatology) which can worsen the skin condition and itch.

– These sleeves stay on.  The mitten portion is attached to the shawl portion.  Babies and kids are really good at getting traditional mittens off.  These stay on.

– They are easy to flip open and closed.  This is important because you aren’t going to just flip them closed and leave your child that way all day.  There are often predictable times when your child will scratch skin, pull hair or bite nails — e.g. when she/he is tired or fussy, during diaper changes, at night when her/his inhibition is decreased, etc.  In anticipation of these times, you can close the mittens.  The rest of the time, you can keep the mittens open.  This may also decrease your anxiety over whether you child won’t have enough open mitten time to learn how to use her/his fingers and hands.

– They are easy to get on and off.  The shawl part is a mix of bamboo viscose, cotton and lycra.  It has just enough stretch so that you can put it on easily, but not so loose that your child can work her/his way out of it.

– They are relatively affordable.  There are so many products that target parents of eczema babies and kids.  Some of them are very costly.  These are relatively affordable and there are often deals through the ScratchMeNot website or The Eczema Company.

As a dermatologist and eczema mom myself, I give these ScratchMeNot Flip Mitten Sleeves 5 stars.

DermBytes readers get 10% off at the ScratchMeNot website with the code: Dermbytes.