Learn About Seborrheic Keratosis

What is the definition of Seborrheic Keratosis?

Seborrheic keratosis is a condition that causes wart-like growths on the skin. The growths are noncancerous (benign).

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What are the alternative names for Seborrheic Keratosis?

Benign skin tumors - keratosis; Keratosis - seborrheic; Senile keratosis; Senile verruca

What are the causes of Seborrheic Keratosis?

A seborrheic keratosis is a benign form of skin tumor. The cause is unknown.

The condition commonly appears after age 40. It tends to run in families.

Irritated Seborrheic Kerotosis - neck
What are the symptoms of Seborrheic Keratosis?

Symptoms of seborrheic keratosis are skin growths that:

  • Are located on the face, chest, shoulders, back, or other areas, except the lips, palms, and soles
  • Are painless, but may become irritated and itchy
  • Are most often tan, brown, or black
  • Have a slightly raised, flat surface
  • May have a rough texture (like a wart)
  • Often have a waxy surface
  • Are round or oval
  • May look like a piece of bee's wax that has been "pasted-on" the skin
  • Often appear in clusters
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What are the current treatments for Seborrheic Keratosis?

You generally do not need treatment unless growths get irritated or affect your appearance.

Growths may be removed with surgery or freezing (cryotherapy).

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Seborrheic Keratosis?

Removing the growths is simple and generally does not cause scars. You may have patches of lighter skin where growths on the torso have been removed.

Growths usually do not return after they are removed. You may develop more growths in the future if you are prone to the condition.

What are the possible complications of Seborrheic Keratosis?

These complications may occur:

  • Irritation, bleeding, or discomfort of growths
  • Mistake in diagnosis (growths may look like skin cancer tumors)
  • Distress due to physical appearance
When should I contact a medical professional for Seborrheic Keratosis?

Call your provider if you have symptoms of seborrheic keratosis.

Also call if you have new symptoms, such as:

  • A change in the appearance of the skin growth
  • New growths
  • A growth that looks like seborrheic keratosis, but occurs by itself or has ragged borders and irregular color. Your provider will need to examine it for skin cancer.
What are the latest Seborrheic Keratosis Clinical Trials?
Open Label Adaptive Design Study to Explore the Safety and Efficacy of Multiple Treatment Regimens With the Akt Inhibitor SM-020 in 1.0% and 0.1% Gel Formulations in Subjects With Seborrheic Keratosis

Summary: This is a first-in-humans adaptive design open label trial to explore the safety and efficacy of SM-020. Multiple dosing cohorts will be enrolled. The first cohort will have a two-week treatment period of twice daily applications followed by a four-week follow-up period. Based on the results at any time from the first and subsequent cohorts, additional cohorts will explore different dosing regimen...

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What are the Latest Advances for Seborrheic Keratosis?
2940-nm erbium:YAG laser versus 980-nm diode laser in the treatment of multiple seborrheic keratoses: A prospective comparative randomized study.
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Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: November 10, 2020
Published By: Ramin Fathi, MD, FAAD, Director, Phoenix Surgical Dermatology Group, Phoenix, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Fitzpatrick JE, High WA, Kyle WL. Papillomatous and verrucous lesions. In: Fitzpatrick JE, High WA, Kyle WL, eds. Urgent Care Dermatology: Symptom-Based Diagnosis. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 28.

James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Epidermal nevi, neoplasms, and cysts. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 29.

Marks JG, Miller JJ. Epidermal growths. In: Marks JG, Miller JJ, eds. Lookingbill and Marks' Principles of Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 5.

Requena L, Requena C, Cockerell CJ. Benign epidermal tumors and proliferations. In: Bolognia JL, Schaffer JV, Cerroni L, eds. Dermatology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 109.