Seborrheic keratosis is a non-cancerous (benign) skin tumour that originates from cells in the outer layer of the skin. Like liver spots, seborrheic keratoses are seen more often as people age.
The tumours (also called lesions) appear in various colours, from light tan to black. They are round or oval, feel flat or slightly elevated, like the scab from a healing wound, and range in size from very small to more than 2.5 centimetres (1 in) across. They can often come in association with other skin conditions, including basal cell carcinoma.
Seborrheic keratosis is the most common benign skin tumor. Incidence increases with age. There is less prevalence in people with darker skin. In large-cohort studies, 100% of the patients over age 50 had at least one seborrheic keratosis. Onset is usually in middle age, although they are common in younger patients too—found in 12% of 15-year-olds to 25-year-olds—making the term "senile keratosis" a misnomer.
No treatment of seborrheic keratoses is necessary, except for aesthetic reasons. Generally, lesions can be treated with electrodesiccation and curettage, or cryosurgery. When correctly performed, removal of seborrheic keratoses will not cause much visible scarring.
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