Seborrheic keratosis (seb-o-REE-ik care-uh-TOE-sis) is a common skin growth. It may seem worrisome because it can look like a wart, pre-cancerous skin growth (actinic keratosis), or skin cancer. Despite their appearance, seborrheic keratoses are harmless.

Most people get these growths when they are middle-aged or older. Because they begin at a later age and can have a wart-like appearance, seborrheic keratoses are often called the “barnacles of aging.”

It’s possible to have just one of these growths, but most people develop several. Some growths may have a warty surface while others look like dabs of warm, brown candle wax on the skin.

Seborrheic keratoses (or SKs) range in color from white to black; however, most are tan or brown.

You can find these harmless growths anywhere on the skin, except the palms and soles. Most often, you’ll see them on the chest, back, head, or neck.

SKs are most commonly removed during an office visit by electrocautery or freezing.  A cosmetic procedure containing pharmaceutical grade hydrogen peroxide (ESKATA) is recommended for more visible areas of the body (face, neck, hands, etc.) to reduce the risk of scaring.