Seborrhoeic keratosis

Created: 03.08.2023

Updated: 22.12.23

Approved by: General Practitioner, Dr Binita Pamar

Seborrhoeic keratoses, known as seborrhoeic warts, are common skin growths. Seborrhoeic keratoses are benign growths on the skin that can be mistaken for moles, leading to concerns about their potential malignancy. However, they are not cancerous. Seborrhoeic keratoses most commonly appear on the trunk but can also occur in other areas such as the scalp or face. They do not develop into malignancies.

Who gets seborrhoeic keratoses?

As we age, seborrhoeic keratoses, also known as seborrhoeic warts and basal cell papillomas, tend to become more common. While they can appear as early as in our 20s, they are more frequently observed in older age. Unlike many other types of warts, these growths are not caused by a virus, and their precise cause remains unknown. It's important to note that seborrhoeic keratoses are not contagious, and there are no specific preventive measures to avoid their development.

Treatment of seborrhoeic keratoses

Seborrhoeic keratoses generally have a distinct appearance that allows for accurate diagnosis by healthcare professionals. In rare instances of diagnostic uncertainty, a tissue biopsy may be recommended for further examination. While seborrhoeic keratoses themselves are not associated with an increased risk of malignant melanoma (skin cancer), there have been cases where a cancerous mole was mistaken for a seborrhoeic wart, potentially delaying diagnosis. Therefore, if there is any doubt or concern regarding changes in your skin, it is always advisable to consult with a doctor.

Seborrhoeic keratoses typically do not require treatment, but they can be managed if desired. Removal procedures, often performed without anaesthesia, may involve scraping the warts. However, if the procedure causes discomfort, a topical anaesthetic cream can be applied beforehand to alleviate the discomfort. Alternatively, freezing or laser removal are alternative methods for removing seborrhoeic keratoses. It's important to note that while treatment can be effective, there is a possibility for the warts to reoccur. In such cases, treatment can be repeated as necessary.


Seborrhoeic warts are entirely benign and do not have the potential to become malignant later. They are also easy to remove if one finds them unsightly or uncomfortable.

General Practitioner

At Dr.Dropin our experienced GPs provide a wide range of primary care services, similar to those provided by the NHS, either in the clinic or through video consultations.


At Dr.Dropin, you will receive specialist care from our expert Consultant Dermatologists provided by skindoc. With extensive experience from both public and private hospitals, we can assess and treat most chronic and acute skin disorders – either in the clinic, through video, or via a photo upload service.