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Seborrheic Keratosis

Seborrheic keratoses are extremely common harmless skin growths. They usually start to appear in the early to mid adult years and then new lesions continue to develop throughout a person's lifetime. Seborrheic keratoses can appear on any part of the body, but are most commonly found on the back, face, arms and legs. They usually appear as brown flat or slightly elevated growths with either a smooth waxy surface or a rough warty surface. They are not due to sun exposure or sun damage and therefore there are no preventative measures to keep new growths from coming. The tendency to get these growths can be inherited.

If the growths remain small and not bothersome, then no treatment is necessary. Removal of them for cosmetic reasons is not covered by any health insurance plan. In general, insurance does cover removal of particular growths if they become painful, bleed, turn red or have developed scabbing. Removal can be accomplished by freezing, scraping or cutting them off the skin. Some of these methods can result in permanent scars. There are no creams that can remove these growths.

Though seborrheic keratoses are often brown and can look like moles, it is important to understand that these growths are not moles and do not have any cancerous potential. They can slowly grow over time, but enlargement is not a sign of danger. Seborrheic keratoses can be a cosmetic nuisance but take comfort in the fact that at least they are harmless growths.

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