Seborrheic keratosis is a skin disorder characterized by ugly greasy and rough lesions that are easily irritated by friction. The lesions are growths on the skin that originate from keratinocytes. These lesions are mainly light tan but can get darker and assume the color black. These growths are of different shapes. Most are round or oval in shape. Seborrheic keratosis is noncancerous and therefore poses no health risk. It is also not contagious. It is rare in children but common in middle-aged people.
Seborrheic keratosis is mostly confused with actinic keratosis making it very necessary to have a dermatologist check for it. Actinic keratosis is premalignant and that is why you need to be sure whether you have seborrheic keratosis or actinic keratosis. Due to the well training that dermatologists receive, it is very easy for them to know seborrheic keratosis on sight – making tests and examinations unnecessary. However, your dermatologist can perform an examination to be extra sure that the skin disorder is indeed seborrheic keratosis. This is where histology of seborrheic keratosis comes in.
Histology is a study done for the microscopic anatomy of cells. This is usually done by examining a thin slice of tissue under a microscope. For better view and results, the tissue is usually stained by the use of histological stains. Histology of seborrheic keratosis is therefore a study of the microscopic anatomy of keratinocytes to certify whether the skin has been infected with seborrheic keratosis. This can be done by a light microscope but an electronic one is much better. The dermatologist also scrapes a small piece of your skin for the examination.
When histology is performed, seborrheic keratosis will be evident when there are proliferations of the keratinocytes noted and a clonal expansion is viewed. The broad sheets of small to medium cells are also seen to have been separated by horn cysts.
Seborrheic keratosis can be treated in many ways. Once you have had a histology exam and you confirm that indeed you have this skin disorder, do not panic. It does not lead to cancer and treatment is only necessary when you feel like the irritation is too much or you need to improve your skin for cosmetic reasons.
Finally, seborrheic keratosis does not require a histology exam to be certified so but you can do histology for seborrheic keratosis just to be surer and avoid confusing it with actinic keratosis.