What are Seborrheic Keratosis?

Seborrheic keratosis is a benign or non-cancerous skin growth that originates in keratinocytes, which are the predominant cells in the epidermis or outer layer of the skin. There are also sometimes called seborrheic warts. These growths are typically benign and appear as waxy, scaly, or raised lesions with a variety of colours, including tan, brown, or black.  They are commonly seen as 'stuck on' lesions on the surface of the skin.  They may be picked off but often recur.

What are the causes of seborrheic keratosis?

The exact cause of seborrheic keratosis or warts is not well understood, but factors such as genetics and age seem to play a role. They are more common in older individuals and can occur on the face and trunk.  Although they are benign and harmless they can be unsightly.  It is also sometimes difficult to differentiate these from more serious lesions such as skin cancers.  They may also have suspicious features such as itching and bleeding which may make their diagnosis difficult to confirm without a biopsy.

What are the treatment options for seborrheic keratosis?

Treatment for seborrheic keratosis is usually not necessary unless the growth becomes irritated or bothersome. Options for removal, if desired, include:

  • Cryotherapy: Freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen.
  • Electrosurgery: Using a high-frequency electrical current to remove the growth.
  • Curettage: Scraping off the growth with a special instrument.
  • Laser therapy: Using an ablative laser such as CO2 laser to target and remove the lesion.

To book a consultation with one of skin doctors or plastic surgeons please contact us today.

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Reza Nassab FRCS Plast

Reza Nassab FRCS Plast

This page has been medically reviewed by Mr Nassab, consultant plastic surgeon.  

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