Seborrheic Keratosis


These noncancerous, warty growths form on the outermost layers of the skin. These superficial patches resemble scabs, and are sometimes called barnacles.


Seborrheic keratoses typically develop as a person ages. The cause of these growths is unknown, but doctors do know they are not caused by a virus or infection. Sun exposure may be a risk factor, and heredity may also play a role in their development.


Seborrheic keratoses affect the epidermis. They typically look rough and flat and have a pasted-on appearance. These growths are usually no larger than an inch across, and have a darkened color that can range from tan to black. In most cases, they are not harmful and cause no problems.


In most cases, seborrheic keratoses require no treatment. But they can be irritated by clothing or jewelry, and many people choose to have them removed. Treatment options include cryosurgery, electrocautery, and scraping (curettage).