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Seborrheic Keratosis
















What is a Seborrheic Keratosis?

A seborrheic keratosis is an extremely common form of skin growth, that usually becomes more common in older life.


What causes a Seborrheic Keratosis?

The exact answer to this is unknown. It does seem though that sunlight is an important factor in developing a seborrheic keratosis, and they are more common in older age.


What does a Seborrheic Keratosis look like?

In its early stages, a seborrheic keratosis may look like a small mole. As it grows, though, the seborrheic keratosis may start to look slightly warty with a roughened surface. Generally, a seborrheic keratosis will be brown in colour, though this can vary from light tan to dark brown.

See below for links to pictures of seborrheic keratosis.


How can Seborrheic Keratosis be treated?

  • Do nothing - as a seborrheic keratosis is benign (not a cancer), they can be left alone. Occasionally, though, they may be removed because they are in a cosmetically sensitive area such as the face, or the specialist may be unsure as to a diagnosis and want to remove the growth in case it is a cancer

  • Curettage - this is where the seborrheic keratosis is scraped off the skin, usually under local anaesthetic. A small pale scar may be left, and there is a risk the seborrheic keratosis could come back. Nevertheless this is usually a very effective way to treat a seborrheic keratosis

  • Cryotherapy - a special freeze spray can be used to freeze the seborrheic keratosis, making it fall off in the next few days. The treatment stings slightly but is relatively straightforward. More than one treatment may be needed, and the seborrheic keratosis can occasionally recur over time. A small pale scar may result from cryotherapy

  • Shave excision - under local anaesthetic the seborrheic keratosis can be carefully shaved off with a scalpel. This may leave a small pale scar, and the keratosis may occasionally recur

  • Surgery - if the seborrheic keratosis is small, recurrent, or the diagnosis is uncertain, then the specialist may advise excision. This is usually under local anaesthetic and will usually require stitches. The advantages are that recurrence rates are very low and the lab can examine the tissue for a diagnosis


Pictures of Seborrheic Keratosis

Click on one of the links below to see pictures of a seborrheic keratosis

Seborrheic keratosis on the abdomen

Seborrheic keratosis on the back

Seborrheic keratosis on the cheek

Seborrheic keratosis on the cheek

Seborrheic keratosis on the eyebrow

Seborrheic keratosis on the forearm

Seborrheic keratosis on the neck

Seborrheic keratosis on the temple




Any procedure involving skin incision can also result in unfavourable scarring, wound infection, or bleeding. This list of risks is not exhaustive, and you should discuss possible complications with your specialist.

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