Dermatology/Seborrheic Keratosis

Seborrheic Keratoses are not dangerous but many people do not like the appearance

Seborrheic keratosis are lesions that are benign and therefore are not dangerous to your health. They often are visible on the skin as discoloured patches and can be raised and wart-like. When they are flat they are also called age spots. The more raised lesions are called seborrheic keratoses.

Seborrheic keratosis are very common amongst a large proportion of the population. They become more common as we get older and usually appear as a sign of ageing. Over time, it is possible for many to appear the body and some people develop a number of lesions.

Closed up the skin tags or Seborrheic Keratosis on neck man isolated on white background.Health care concept

There are a variety of treatments available for seborrheic keratosis. Cryotherapy is one of the most effective treatments to remove seborrheic keratosis. Liquid nitrogen is applied to the growth which freezes it in seconds with the intention to cause crusting that falls away leaving a flattened lesion. In some cases, one cryotherapy treatment will be sufficient to remove the growths however in other cases it will be necessary to have multiple treatments – and they do sometimes regrow. Another popular treatment to remove seborrheic keratosis is laser treatments. Several different types of laser can be used pigment lasers for flatter age spots type of lesions or CO2 laser for more raised warty lesions. More raised lesions may require surgical removal.

The laser works to penetrate the skins surface and again kill the tissue and cells associated with the growth. Similarly, to cryotherapy, multiple treatments may be necessary to completely remove the growth and achieve the desired results.

Seborrheic keratosis are benign (harmless) in nature. However, as these lesions are rough and lie on the skin surface they can cause some irritation and discomfort. In some cases, they may begin to bleed as a result of the scaly skin on the top. Seborrheic keratosis sometimes can lead to aesthetic concern and therefore some people choose to have these removed. It is very rare for seborrheic keratosis to resolve themselves and so if they are causing concern having a consultation to discuss removal should be considered.

There are a variety of different procedures available to remove seborrheic keratosis and the most appropriate treatment can be discussed with your consultant dermatologist during your initial consultation. Two of the most effective and popular treatments for seborrheic keratosis removal are cryotherapy and laser removal.

Seborrheic keratosis is not dangerous and do not cause any harm. However they can look like moles and if your lesions are new or changing, you should have them looked at by a dermatologist.

Procedure Overview

  • Benign growth on the skins surface and therefore are not dangerous
  • Usually presents itself as a raised, scaly bump
  • Primarily removed for aesthetic concerns or sometimes because they cause discomfort
  • Lesions can range in colour including darker and light brown, or yellowish
  • Sometimes these growths can be confused with melanomas or warts and they should always be checked by a dermatologist before considering removal
  • Different removal methods available including cryotherapy and laser treatments
  • You will have an initial consultation with an expert specialist in this area
closeup photo of two women showing from their nose to their chin. One is white and the other is a black woman

Seborrheic keratosis cannot become cancerous. Seborrheic keratosis are benign growths and therefore they cannot become cancerous even after many years. They are also not suggestive of skin cancer and cannot increase your chances of suffering with skin cancer. They are simply a collection of keratinocytes which are cells which lie on the outermost skin layer (epidermis). However they can sometimes look like a typical mole or even like melanoma sometimes, so a check is always recommended.

Seborrheic keratosis  are lesions that form on the skin. They usually occur on more sun exposed sites but not necessarily as a result of sun damage. Actinic keratosis are collections of abnormal cells that have been changed by the sun and can turn into pre-cancerous uncommonly, or cancers – but this risk is increased if there are many lesions.

This depends on the type of treatment you are considering and can be discussed at your consultation. Generally freezing with liquid nitrogen is a more cost effective option and lasers are more expensive. Surgical removal may be a higher priced option but often it is a more permanent method of removal.


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