(Benign Skin Tumors)
DefinitionSeborrheic keratosis is a type of benign raised growth on the skin. The growths develop from the top layer of skin. These growths may look like warts, but do not extend deep into the skin, or contain the viruses that cause warts.Seborrheic keratoses are not contagious, do not spread, or do not turn into cancerous tumors. In most cases, treatment is not required.
|Skin Section with Seborrheic Keratosis|
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CausesThe direct cause of seborrheic keratosis is unknown, but it may be linked to genetics.
Risk FactorsSeborrheic keratosis is more common in people aged 40 years and older and in those with a family history.
SymptomsSymptoms may include skin growths that may be:
- Yellow, tan, brown, or black
- Itchy if irritated by clothing or jewelry
- Round or oval in shape
DiagnosisYour doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor can usually make a diagnosis upon examination of the skin growth. You may need further testing, such as a biopsy, to rule out other skin conditions.
TreatmentTalk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Seborrheic keratoses do not pose a threat to your health. The best course of action may be to leave them alone. If they itch or become irritated, or if you feel they affect your appearance, they can be removed.Treatment options include:
MedicationsIf you have irritated seborrheic keratoses, your doctor may recommend topical corticosteroids.
SurgeryIn some cases, you and your doctor may decide to remove the seborrheic keratoses. Surgical options include:
- Freezing the growth, which falls off a few days later
- Removal with a razor or scalpel
- Laser surgery to burn the growth off
PreventionThere are no current guidelines to prevent seborrheic keratosis.
American Academy of Dermatology
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Canadian Dermatology Association
Seborrheic keratosis. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/q---t/seborrheic-keratoses. Accessed September 28, 2014.
Seborrheic keratosis. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aocd.org/?page=SeborrheicKeratoses. Accessed September 28, 2014.
Seborrheic keratosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 18, 2013. Accessed September 28, 2014.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014
- Update Date: 05/11/2013
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