Seborrhoeic keratosis is a noncancerous growth that can appear anywhere on the skin. It begins as a small bump and eventually thickens and looks like a wart. Most are brown but can range in colour from light tan to black and can range in size from a fraction of an inch to as large as a fifty-cent piece. Some people get just one growth, but it's more common for several to appear. A distinguishing feature of seborrhoeic keratosis is the waxy, painted-on-the-skin look. The growth can look like a drop of warm, brown candle wax.
Seborrhoeic keratosis first appears in middle age or later, and occasionally can appear during pregnancy or after oestrogen therapy. Growths most often form on the chest or back, but can be found on the scalp, face, neck or anywhere on the skin except for the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet.
Treatment is not required as seborrhoeic keratosis poses no threat because it is noncancerous. However, if growths come on rapidly, turn black, itch or bleed, they can be difficult to distinguish from skin cancer and should be checked by a dermatologist. The growth can be biopsied to check if it is cancerous or not.
If growths are bothered by clothes or jewellery, removal is an option to consider. Wart removers can be used at home. This requires several applications, and the removal may not be as quick as removal by a doctor.
Removal of seborrhoeic keratosis growths should be done by a dermatologist. The treatments are fast and efficient and the growths will disappear in no time. Some treatments include electrocautery, which uses high frequency electricity to remove the growth and cryosurgery, during which the doctor freezes the growth using liquid nitrogen. Another treatment is called curettage, which is done in combination with either electrocautery or cryosurgery. The doctor removes the growth by scraping the skin's surface with a curette, which is a surgical instrument with a scoop, loop or ring at its tip.