Seborrheic keratosis (SK) is a common, noncancerous skin lesion typically found on the head, chest, neck, shoulders, and back. SKs usually begin as rough, itchy bumps that may eventually thicken and darken to a brown or black color over time. They can have a waxy or wartlike appearance. They are usually round or oval-shaped with an elevated, rough surface. SKs range in size from very small to more than one inch in diameter. It is possible to have just one growth, but most tend to develop several. SKs typically are not painful, but they can be irritating and bothersome depending on the size and location. Though they may spread to other parts of the body, SKs are harmless and are not contagious.

Causes & Risk Factors

There is no known cause of SKs, though they tend to be more common in older individuals. They also tend to occur in individuals with a family history of SKs. They are not believed to be caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays and do not have a higher chance of turning into skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. SKs are not a sign of serious health issues, except in very rare instances where they develop suddenly and in very large numbers, which can be associated with internal malignancies.

Although SKs are harmless, they should be observed regularly for changes. If an individual notices sudden or dramatic changes to an SK lesion or site, they should schedule a consultation with a physician to examine the lesion for a more serious underlying condition. An individual should see a physician if they notice the following changes:

  • The rapid development of SKs in a short period of time
  • Irritation or bleeding of SKs when rubbed against clothing
  • Development of sores or growths that bleed or don’t heal – this could be a sign of skin cancer

Removal & Treatment

Although it is not necessary to remove SKs, their appearance can be irritating, bothersome, and embarrassing for the diagnosed individual. Available SK treatment options are based on size, location, and the number of lesions. At DermaHealth, our suggested treatments include laser therapy, shave removal, and electrosurgery with Ellman radiofrequency (RF) technology. Epionce lytic and melanocyte treatments are also available. While the Epionce treatment is a slower removal process, this method can be performed by a client in the privacy of his or her home.

To see if you are a candidate for one of our seborrheic keratosis removal treatments, schedule a complimentary consultation with DermaHealth today.