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You are here: ORS Hospital > Skin lesions > Seborrhoeic keratosis > Basic information

Seborrhoeic keratosis

Sinonimi: Seborrhoic keratosis, Senile keratosis, Basal cell papilloma, Keratosis

What is SK?

It’s a benign tumor of the superficial layer of the skin. It usually looks as a dried up crust, or like something glued to the skin

Solitary SK lesion

SK lesions in group

How does SK develop?

We still don’t fully understand the true reason for developing this tumor. Still, genetic predisposition and excessive skin Sun damage during life present the two main reasons for developing SK.

What are the first signs of developing SK?

Fundamentally, there are two types of occurring SK, solitary and group type. With solitary lesion type, they are spotted as small lesions (up to 10 mm) in the form of wart-like, mole-like or elevated growths with a dry surface. When they appear in groups, they initially look like "small warts" and are usually located on the neck, and when they appear on the back, chest or trunk, they are usually dry, oily lesions, like soft “limpets” that crumble.

MSmall, wart, mole-like or elevated growths

Dry, oily lesions, like soft, crumbling “limpets”.

How do they look like?

  • They clearly demarked from the surrounding tissue,
  • Brown to black in color,
  • Elevated, like attached to the skin,
  • Soft and crumbly,
  • Often with darker “plug like spots” on them,
  • They tend to partially crumble, especially after a bath,
  • Often, these are lesions from a couple of cm in diameter, rarely they are up to a few cm in diameter.
  • Crusts appear usually on lesions that have been injured or inflamed.
  • Rarely, these can be lesions on a petal, and if they do appear, it’s mostly on the neck or upper part of the chest .

How dangerous are they?

SK lesions are harmless benign skin tumors. They only pose issues with itching, discomfort, loss of life comfort and, of course, with esthetics. However, in a small number of cases, regular SK lesions can’t always be separated from melanoma by a common visual examination. And exactly because of that, a dermoscopic examination which provides a precise diagnosis should be done on SK lesions before removing them.

Is it curable?

Like with all benign lesions, the cure is complete. It should be known that they can appear again on the same spot, if not completely removed, as well as on other, new spots, near or far away especially when the type in question is the group one.

Is there a sex, age or body region specificity?

SK lesions appear in both sexes equally. Age-wise, for a long time the prevailing opinion was that these are old age related lesions, and theat they don’t appear before the age of 30. Unfortunately, more and more cases of SK appearing before the age of 20are reported. They usually appear on the chest, back and face.

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