The Basics of Seborrheic Keratosis


Seborrheic keratosis (seb-o-REE-ik care-uh-TOE-sis) is one of the most common noncancerous skin growths in older adults. Seborrheic keratoses may appear as flat, light brown, tan or black growths. The growths tend to appear on the face, chest, shoulders or back.

The cause of seborrheic keratosis isn’t known. The condition may run in families and often appears in people with a family history of the condition.

Although they can be unsightly, seborrheic keratoses aren’t harmful and don’t need treatment unless you find them irritating or embarrassing. Treatment options include cryosurgery, curettage and electrosurgery, chemical peels and laser therapy.

Seborrheic Keratosis Symptoms

Seborrheic keratoses typically develop gradually over many years. It’s not unusual for them to appear during middle age or later. They tend to multiply with time.

The following signs and symptoms may indicate a seborrheic keratosis:

Seborrheic keratosis is one of the most common skin growths in older adults. It can appear anywhere on your body but is most common on your face, chest, shoulders, or back. Seborrheic keratosis is not cancer and rarely turns into cancer. But it can look like skin cancer so it’s important to have new or changing growths checked by a dermatologist.

They usually appear as flat, tan, brown or black growths on the chest or back. They can also look like warts or moles. They are harmless and do not cause health problems. Most people have just a few seborrheic keratoses but some people may have hundreds. They usually appear after age 30 and become more common with age.

Seborrheic keratoses usually don’t need treatment unless they’re bothersome or cosmetically undesirable. If you want them removed because of their appearance, talk to a board-certified dermatologist about your options.

A seborrheic keratosis is a noncancerous skin growth that some people develop as they age. They often look like warts, moles or skin tags. Seborrheic keratoses are very common and can appear anywhere on the body, but they are most often found on the chest, back or shoulders.

There’s no one cause of seborrheic keratoses, but certain things may increase your risk:

You’re more likely to develop a seborrheic keratosis if you’re older than 50.

You’re more likely to develop a seborrheic keratosis if you have a family history of them.

Seborrheic keratoses vary in color from light tan to black and range from very small (1 millimeter) to large (more than 1 centimeter). They tend to be raised and feel slightly sticky and waxy or scaly.

Seborrheic keratoses are usually not harmful, but they can be unattractive or irritate clothing or jewelry. Some people may also mistake them for moles or skin cancer and worry about them needlessly. If that’s the case for you, talk with your doctor about removing them through

Seborrheic Keratosis is a non-cancerous skin growth that is extremely common in adults. They are usually light brown to dark black in color and are most often found on the face, back, chest and shoulders. Seborrheic Keratosis can appear at any age but grows more common with age. Although they may grow large, these growths do not turn into cancer and they are not contagious.

There are many different types of seborrheic keratosis:

Stucco Keratosis – a rough, scaly appearance

Inverted Follicular Keratosis – appears as a small, smooth bump

Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra – small, flat moles that look like warts

Filiform Keratosis – looks like an extended thread or stalk

Seborrheic keratoses (SKs) are noncancerous (benign) skin growths that some people develop as they age. SKs usually appear after age 40. They tend to increase in number with age.

The growths can be smooth or rough and look waxy, scaly, or pigmented. They appear most often on the chest, back, shoulders, neck, and face. These growths can range in size from very small to several inches across. Having many SKs is called seborrheic keratosis disorder (multiple seborrheic keratoses).

Seborrheic keratoses are harmless but can look like moles and skin cancer. If you have a growth you think might be an SK, see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

A seborrheic keratosis is a common, noncancerous (benign) skin growth. Seborrheic keratoses appear most often on the chest and back, but also can occur on the head, neck, and face. They also can develop in other areas of the body that have many oil glands, such as the upper eyelids.

Seborrheic keratoses are generally round or oval with a waxy, scaly, slightly elevated appearance. They vary in color from light tan to brown or nearly black. Seborrheic keratoses often have an uneven surface with a “stuck-on” appearance.

Seborrheic keratoses may be mistaken for melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer. If you are unsure whether you have a seborrheic keratosis or another type of growth, have your dermatologist evaluate it.

A seborrheic keratosis usually does not require treatment unless it is irritated by clothing or jewelry. Your dermatologist may remove the growth if it becomes irritated or inflamed or if you do not like how it looks.

Treatment options include:

Seborrheic keratoses are noncancerous skin growths that some people develop as they age. They often appear on the face, chest, shoulders or back. The growths may look like warts, moles or skin cancer.

Seborrheic keratoses are often called barnacles of aging.

A seborrheic keratosis is a skin growth that some people develop as they age. Seborrheic keratoses usually appear after age 30 and tend to increase in number with age. Most adults have at least a few seborrheic keratoses by age 50, and some people have more than 100 of them.

These growths are harmless and do not need to be treated. However, many people choose to have them removed for cosmetic reasons or because they cause irritation from rubbing against clothing or jewelry.

Seborrheic keratoses usually appear as small, light-brown papules (bumps) on the chest and back or along the spine but can also occur on other areas of the body. They vary in size from less than 1 mm to several cm in diameter. These growths may look like warts, moles or skin cancer (especially melanoma).


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