Seborrheic Keratosis

Seborrheic Keratosis, also known as seborrheic verruca, is a common and typically benign skin growth, often appearing as brown, black or yellow growths that grow singly or in groups and are flat or slightly elevated. Often they are mistaken for warts. While these growths are generally harmless, they can vary in color, size, and texture, causing individuals to seek professional care for diagnosis and removal. Most people will develop at least one seborrheic keratosis during a lifetime. 

Although they do not pose a cancer risk, understanding their distinctive  appearance is important. Because they look similar in appearance to precancerous growths (actinic keratosis), your dermatology professional will likely biopsy the tissue to confirm the diagnosis. Monitoring for changes and seeking dermatologic care from one of our professionals ensures accurate identification and alleviates concerns related to these generally harmless, yet sometimes aesthetically bothersome, skin growths.

At Brentwood Dermatology, our expert team recognizes the cosmetic concern associated with Seborrheic Keratosis, which commonly develops on areas exposed to the sun. Our trusted Brentwood Dermatology providers specialize in the evaluation and management of Seborrheic Keratosis, providing personalized solutions to address aesthetic concerns and ensure optimal skin health. Schedule an appointment at Brentwood Dermatology for a thorough assessment and tailored treatment plan, promoting confidence and comfort in your healthy 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.