Seborrheic keratoses are common, benign skin growths. They usually occur after age 30. They can arise in any location. They do not commonly occur on the lips, palms, or soles. There can be one or multiple growths. They have a very varied appearance: they can be flat or raised, and may feel smooth, velvety, or greasy. They are classically described as looking “stuck on” the skin. The color of the growths is very diverse; they can be white, pink, brown, or black. There may be different colors within the same growth. They may look similar to melanoma, but they are not cancerous.
Some seborrheic keratoses are located in areas where they become irritated by clothing or friction, and can become irritated and painful. Other seborrheic keratoses are located in areas of cosmetic concern, such as the face or neck. For these reasons, many patients desire removal in order to increase comfort and improve appearance.
Seborrheic keratoses do not come back in the area where they were removed. After removal, the area of skin may be lighter than the surrounding skin. This color change may be permanent, or it may lighten after time.
Seborrheic Keratoses can be quickly removed by different methods:
- Cryotherapy: This treatment is used to remove superficial lesions such as warts or seborrheic keratoses. Liquid nitrogen is applied or sprayed onto the growth. The temperature causes the abnormal cells to die. The treated area will crust, scab, and fall off after a few days, leaving normal healthy skin in its place.
- Curettage & Electrosurgery: First, the growth is scooped out with a small tool. Next, a small electrical current is applied to the area to ensure removal of any remaining cells from the growth.