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Seborrheic Keratosis

Clinical Overview

Seborrheic keratoses are common noncancerous skin growths. Often called “barnacles on the skin,” these black or brown growths usually occur on the face, chest, shoulders, or back. Due to their appearance, seborrheic keratoses may be mistaken for warts or melanoma. Unlike warts, however, they are not caused by a virus, and unlike melanoma, they are completely benign. The cause of these growths is unknown, though research suggests that they may be hereditary. Adults over 50 years of age may be more likely to develop seborrheic keratoses.

Last updated: Aug-02-10

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