Seborrheic Keratosis Cleveland
Seborrheic keratosis (SKs) are common, non-cancerous lesions that grow on the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) and can develop on any part of the body. SKs usually begin as rough, itchy bumps and can thicken and darken to a brown or black color over time. They are usually round or oval-shaped growths with an elevated, rough surface and sometimes seem to be glued to the skin or dropped on like candle wax. Though they appear to spread, SKs are not contagious.
There is no known cause of SKs to date, but the lesions become more common with age. 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 melanoma.
SKs are not a sign of serious health issues except in very rare instances, when they can develop suddenly in very large numbers and can be associated with internal malignancies. Although harmless, SKs should be observed regularly, like the rest of your skin, for any changes in size, shape or color.
Your treatment may vary based on the location and size of the lesions, taking your age and general health into consideration. Common treatment options include shave removal (cutting off the lesion with a small, flat blade under local anesthesia), cryosurgery (freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen), curettage (scraping the lesion from the skin) and/or electrosurgery (burning the lesion off the electric current).
Since SKs are superficial lesions, their removal causes minimal scarring. Your dermatologist will help you decide which option is best for you. Any growth that bleeds, itches or becomes irritated should be checked by a dermatologist.
Memberships & Affiliations
- American Academy of Dermatology
- American Medical Association
- American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery
- American Society of Dermatologic Surgery