Skin Disorders

What are seborrheic keratoses?

A Answers (3)

  • AHealthwise answered

    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.

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. To learn more visit

    © Healthwise, Incorporated.

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  • AEllen Marmur, MD, Dermatology, answered

    This benign lesion is a dry, raised, wart-like growth that appears on the skin seemingly overnight and out of nowhere. It is easily mistaken for a scab that forms over a pimple that's healing, but this one won't go away. The growth is created when too many dead keratinocytes get rolled up like an onion into a scaly little mass, which is why it looks and feels like a hard clay blob. Seborrheic keratoses (SK) have been dubbed "keratin pearls," but they're stuck onto the skin more like a barnacle.

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Seborrheic keratoses are noncancerous skin growths that are usually brown, but they can range in color from black to white. Unlike moles, seborrheic keratoses rarely occur in childhood but are most likely to appear on the skin in middle and older age. They can appear anywhere on the skin, except for the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. If you have concerns about seborrheic keratoses, talk to your dermatologist for more information.
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