What is Seborrheic Keratoses?

Have you ever been concerned about a dark mole on your skin, only to be told by your dermatologist that it’s not a mole but a seborrheic keratosis? We might tell you not to worry about it, but did you get a good explanation of what they are?

A seborrheic keratosis (SK) is a very common skin growth caused by a thickening of an area of the top skin layer. It usually appears as a brown, black, or light tan growth on the face, trunk or arms, and may have a waxy or scaly raised appearance. Despite the way they look, these growths are harmless. They do not usually cause any symptoms, but they may itch.

Treatment Options for Seborhheic  Keratosis

Treatment of SKs is usually not necessary, but may be desired for cosmetic reasons. Under local anesthesia, they may be removed with a scalpel, scraped off with a special instrument, or burned off with an electric current. The most common treatment for SKs is liquid nitrogen therapy. However, all of these treatments have the potential to leave behind a white mark or  small scar. 

Are seborrheic keratoses contagious?

No. Although they have a warty appearance, these lesions are not caused by a virus and are not contagious.

Are seborrheic keratoses cancerous?

No. SKs may look like pre-cancerous skin growths such as actinic keratoses and have the dark irregular appearance of melanoma, these growths are benign.

Who gets seborrheic keratoses?

Anyone can get these growths- especially anyone with fair skin and those with family members with seborrheic keratoses. People with darker skin types tend to get smaller seborrheic keratoses on the face. Pregnant women may also get them

Do children get seborrheic keratoses?

No. Seborrheic keratoses typically occur in middle-aged and older adults. Think of them as a sign of wisdom!

Contact us with any other questions or to make an appointment with a dermatologist.