With age comes wisdom – and apparently lumps, bumps, spots, dots and weird patches that weren’t there before. Thanks to age, heredity and sun exposure, it’s quite common for lesions or pigmentation to appear on our skin as we get older.
As a fair-skinned person in my forties, I have more than a few skincare sins from my youth to atone for; bad habits have left behind pigmentation and wrinkles. But other skin concerns have come up over the years and I have questions. Is that raised, itchy brown spot on my back a mole? What about the scaly patch by my ear that didn’t used to be there? How easy is it to get rid of that cluster of spider veins on the front of my shin?
I turned to the expertise of ICLS Director of Dermatology, Dr. Sapra, during a Skin Clean-Up appointment. The Skin Clean-Up is a chance to meet with our dermatologist to first identify a list of concerns, and then plan an efficient course of action for each one as desired. Treatment(s) could include electrocautery, excision or laser treatments. (Scheduled separately as needed.)
First, I met with nurse Lesley, who explained that we would review all of my concerns. She asked about my daily skincare routine, pleased to know I use sunscreen with a Vitamin C serum daily to prevent further sun damage. She listened to my questions and took photos of each area of concern. Afterwards, Dr. Sapra came in to examine me head to toe.
As it turns out the mole on my back wasn’t a mole, but a seborrheic keratosis. These are common, benign growths that are typically found on the face, shoulders, chest and back – I had a few of them including the spot near my ear. Luckily, the two in question could be easily removed that day through a process called curettage. While there was nothing worrisome – that is, of medical concern – I was comforted knowing that anything that’s removed is always sent off to the lab for testing.
The small vessels on the front of my shin could be easily treated with sclerotherapy, a simple procedure where saline is injected, causing the vein to shrink. Dr. Sapra also noted my sun damage and suggested both skincare and laser options to reduce my brown spots and pigmentation.
Treating the seborrheic keratosis was easy. Nurse Lesley injected the two areas with a little bit of freezing, then used the curettage method to remove them. Curettage is essentially scraping the superficial tissue from the surface using a spoon-shaped utensil – but don’t try this at home, kids. My prescription is to keep the spots clean and apply Polysporin. (I’ll also avoid swimming or direct sun until the area heals.) I scheduled a follow-up appointment for the sclerotherapy and bought some new skincare on my way out. And just like that, I’m a little more comfortable – and confident – in my skin.
Contact one of our patient coordinators to discuss scheduling your Skin Clean-Up appointment.
Watch one Skin Clean-Up patient’s experience with a Seborrheic Keratoses removal.
By ICLS staff member Leesa Butler