|Seborrheic Keratosis: Gross natural color photo of face with multiple typical lesions. Image courtesy of Professor Peter Anderson DVM PhD and published with permission © PEIR, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Pathology|
A seborrheic keratosis is a benign skin growth that is very common among people over 40 years of age.
The growths resemble flattened or raised warts, but have no viral origins and may exhibit a variety of colors, from pink or yellow through brown and black. Because only the top layers of the epidermis are involved, seborrheic keratoses are often described as having a "pasted-on" appearance.
Because the tumors are rarely painful, treatment is not often necessary. There is a small risk of localized infection caused by picking at the lesion. If a growth becomes excessively itchy, or if it is irritated by clothing or jewelry, cryosurgery has been found to be highly effective in their removal. The main danger associated with seborrheic keratoses lies in their resemblance to malignant melanomas, which has sometimes led to a misdiagnosis of the cancerous lesions. If there is any doubt, a skin biopsy will allow a physician to make a correct diagnosis.