Seborrheic keratoses are common noncancerous (benign) skin
growths that men and women develop as they age. They may appear as one growth
or as a cluster of growths, most often on the chest or back and occasionally on
the scalp, face, or neck.
Seborrheic keratoses are usually brown,
but the color can vary from pale white to brown to black. The size varies from
very small to the size of a medium coin. These growths often look as though
they have been pasted on.
The cause of seborrheic keratoses is
unknown. But they seem to run in families and to be related to sun exposure.
They primarily affect men and women who are older than 30, and they are
increasingly common later in life.
In general, seborrheic
keratoses do not need treatment unless their appearance causes embarrassment or
they become irritated by clothing. A doctor can remove these growths by
freezing, burning, or scraping them off the skin. They may also be removed
using a laser.
All skin growths, especially those that appear
suddenly, grow quickly, develop symptoms like itching or bleeding, or change in
shape or color, should be evaluated by a doctor to rule out cancer.
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
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