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Seborrheic keratoses: Overview


What is seborrheic keratoses?

Seborrheic keratosis is a common skin growth. It may seem worrisome because it can look like a wart, pre-cancerous skin growth (actinic keratosis), or skin cancer. Despite their appearance, seborrheic keratoses are harmless.

Most people get these growths when they are middle aged or older. Because they begin at a later age and can have a wart-like appearance, seborrheic keratoses are often called the “barnacles of aging.”

It’s possible to have just one of these growths, but most people develop several. Some growths may have a warty surface while others look like dabs of warm, brown candle wax on the skin.

Seborrheic keratosis

This non-cancerous growth can grow quite thick and have a warty surface.

Seborrheic keratoses range in color from white to black; however, most are tan or brown.

You can find these harmless growths anywhere on the skin, except the palms and soles. Most often, you’ll see them on the chest, back, head, or neck.

Seborrheic keratoses are not contagious.


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Image used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.

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