Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon

Seborrhoeic Keratosis

Seborrhoeic keratoses are benign conditions.

They are extremely common and can affect the skin on any part of the body but particularly the back, chest and face. They are often a family trait. 

In Celtic skin, its estimated that more than half the men and more than third of women would have at least one seborrhoeic keratosis. They are noy uncommon before the  age of 40, but 75% of the population will have them by the age of 70.

Contrary to popular opinion, they are not always sun-related. They are due to over-activity of the seborrhoeic (sebum) part of the skin leading to the outer layer of the skin (the keratin) thickening up, hence the name keratosis.

They are entirely benign and do not turn into skin cancer.

They can vary in colour from skin colour to mid-brown to dark brown or black. Such a change in colour is not significant but does need to be assessed in case it can be confused with a more serious brown or black lesion, such as melanoma.

There are many ways to treat seborrhoeic keratoses, including no treatment at all. Many patients, who receive reassurance as to the nature of these lesions, do not have them removed.