Seborrheic Keratosis

Seborrheic Keratosis: Identification, Diagnosis, and Expert Treatment at Pinnacle Dermatology

Seborrheic Keratosis, also known as seborrheic verruca, is a common and typically benign skin growth. These growths often appear as brown, black, or yellow lesions that can grow singly or in groups and may be flat or slightly elevated. Often mistaken for warts, seborrheic keratosis can vary in color, size, and texture, prompting individuals to seek professional dermatologic care for diagnosis and removal. Most people will develop at least one seborrheic keratosis during their lifetime.

Although they do not pose a cancer risk, understanding their distinctive appearance is important. Because seborrheic keratosis can resemble precancerous growths (actinic keratosis), a dermatology professional may biopsy the tissue to confirm the diagnosis. Monitoring for changes and seeking dermatologic care ensures accurate identification and alleviates concerns related to these generally harmless yet sometimes aesthetically bothersome skin growths.

At Pinnacle Dermatology, our expert team recognizes the cosmetic concerns associated with seborrheic keratosis, which commonly develops on sun-exposed areas. Our trusted providers specialize in the evaluation and management of seborrheic keratosis, offering personalized solutions to address cosmetic concerns and ensure optimal skin health. Schedule an appointment at Pinnacle Dermatology for a comprehensive assessment and individualized treatment plan, providing comfort in your skin.

What is Seborrheic Keratosis?

  • Benign growth that typically emerges in brown, black, or yellow tones.
  • These lesions, singular or grouped, can appear flat or slightly elevated on the skin.
  • They are commonly mistakenly identified as warts due to their resemblance.

Causes of Seborrheic Keratosis

  • Age and Genetics: Seborrheic keratosis is more common with age and tends to run in families.
  • Sun Exposure: Prolonged exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays may contribute to the development of seborrheic keratosis.
  • Friction and Rubbing: Areas subject to frequent friction or rubbing, such as clothing folds, may be more prone to these growths.
  • Non-Cancerous Nature: Seborrheic keratosis is a benign skin growth, not associated with cancerous changes.

How to Prevent Seborrheic Keratosis

By minimizing risk factors related to seborrheic keratosis, you may be able to prevent the development of these benign skin growths. While some factors are beyond control, implementing certain lifestyle measures can contribute to overall skin health:
  • Sun Protection: Given the potential link between sun exposure and seborrheic keratosis, protecting the skin from harmful UV rays is crucial. Regular use of sunscreen with adequate sun protection factor (SPF) and wearing protective clothing can mitigate the impact of ultraviolet radiation.
  • Hygiene and Skincare: Maintaining good skincare practices can be beneficial such as gentle cleansing routines, moisturizing, and regular dermatologist visits.
  • Genetic Awareness: Since there is a familial predisposition to seborrheic keratosis, individuals with a family history should remain vigilant. Regular skin checks and early consultation with one of our dermatologists can aid in timely detection and management.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Embracing a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding tobacco can promote overall well-being, potentially influencing skin health.
While these measures may support skin health, seborrheic keratosis remains challenging to prevent entirely, as genetic factors and aging are significant contributors. Regular at-home skin checks, annual Total Body Skin Exams, and bringing attention to any suspicious growths are crucial for early detection and treatment. 

Seborrheic Keratosis FAQs

Seborrheic keratoses are generally harmless and do not turn into cancer. They are considered benign growths, and while they may look similar to certain skin cancers, they pose no cancer risk.

While genetics and aging are primary factors, excessive sun exposure may contribute to the development of seborrheic keratoses. Protecting your skin from the sun can help minimize their occurrence.

No, seborrheic keratoses do not spread to other parts of your body or to other people. Each growth is independent, and they are not contagious.

While removal is often permanent, new growths may appear over time. Regular skin checks with a dermatologist are advisable to monitor any changes and address new developments.

How to Treat Seborrheic Keratosis

Generally, no treatment is required unless the growth becomes irritated from chafing against clothing. However, because it looks similar in appearance to precancerous growths (actinic keratosis), your dermatologist will likely biopsy the tissue to confirm the diagnosis.
If a seborrheic keratosis becomes irritated or unsightly, removal is conducted using one of these three methods:
  • Cryosurgery: freezes off the growth using liquid nitrogen.
  • Curettage: the dermatologist scrapes the growth off the surface of the skin.
  • Electrocautery: used alone or in conjunction with curettage to burn off the tissue and stop the bleeding.
Schedule an appointment with one of our trusted dermatology providers to discuss treatment options and determine a personalized plan to help you achieve healthy skin you’re confident in.