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Seborrheic Keratosis

Seborrheic keratoses are common, non-cancerous growths of the outer layer of the skin which first appear during adult life. As time goes by, more growths will appear and existing growths will enlarge and become thicker.

Seborrheic keratoses appear on both covered and uncovered parts of the body; they are not caused by sunlight. The tendency to develop seborrheic keratoses is inherited. Seborrheic keratoses are harmless and do not become malignant.

They begin as slightly raised, light brown or yellow spots. Gradually they thicken and take on a rough, warty, and sometimes waxy surface. They soon may darken and may turn gray or black.

Worried About Seborrheic Keratosis?

Seborrheic keratoses are superficial and look as though they were stuck on the skin. Persons who have had several keratoses can usually recognize this type of benign growth. However, if you are concerned or unsure about any growth, please call for an appointment so that we can examine and/or biopsy changing or growing lesions.

What's the difference between Actinic and Seborrheic Keratosis?

Seborrheic keratoses must be differentiated from actinic keratoses, which occur only on sun damaged skin and which are considered to be pre-malignant.

Actinic keratoses are usually pink and slightly scaly and are found on the face and forearms most commonly. Normally it is easy for a dermatologist to distinguish between actinic keratoses and seborrheic keratoses.

Seborrheic keratoses can easily be removed in the office by freezing, scraping or surgical removal. Freezing may result in a blister that crusts and peels. The keratosis should fall off in a few weeks and sometimes leaves a discolored area which usually fades with time. Thicker keratoses will require several treatments. The main reasons for removing a seborrheic keratosis are that they can be unsightly, become irritated, itchy or they just annoy you.

Insurance companies vary widely on their policies regarding treatment of seborrheic keratoses.

We may ask you to sign a waiver for treatment stating that you will cover the cost if your insurance company deems the treatment to be cosmetic and/or not covered.

If any lesion bleeds or changes color, it should be evaluated by your dermatologist