What are seborrheic keratoses?
Seborrheic keratoses are noncancerous (benign) skin growths that some people develop as they age. They often appear on the back or chest but are also common on the scalp, face, arms, and legs. Seborrheic keratoses grow slowly, in groups or by themselves. Most people will develop at least one seborrheic keratosis growth during their lifetime.
What are the symptoms?
The appearance of seborrheic keratoses can vary widely. They may be light tan to brown or black. The most common texture is rough, with a bumpy, grainy surface that crumbles easily. However, they also may be smooth and waxy. They usually look like they've been stuck onto the skin. While some are tiny, others grow larger than 3 cm in diameter.
What causes seborrheic keratosis?
We don't know what causes seborrheic keratosis, although the tendency to develop this skin condition may be inherited. It is possible that the development of seborrheic keratosis is related to sun exposure. Seborrheic keratoses are not contagious, so you cannot give them to someone else. There is no known way to prevent them.
Seborrheic keratosis primarily affects people older than 30. Some women notice that they develop them during pregnancy or after taking estrogen. They are increasingly common in the later decades of life. Children seldom develop these skin growths.
Are there risks related to seborrheic keratosis?
Diagnosed seborrheic keratosis is nothing to worry about. However, seborrheic keratoses sometimes are mistaken for cancerous (malignant) skin growths, or cancerous growths may blend in with seborrheic keratoses. If you have a skin growth that appears to be a seborrheic keratosis or if you have a dark skin growth or a group of growths that develop rapidly, make an appointment to have them checked now.
How is it treated?
Seborrheic keratoses do not need to be treated. However, if a seborrheic keratosis is easily irritated or painful or its appearance bothers you, you can have it removed.
If you believe you may have seborrheic keratosis or if you are looking for a dermatology practice that specializes in seborrheic keratosis treatment, please use the form on this page to schedule a consultation at Hollywood Dermatology or visit our contact page for information about our South Florida locations.