Seborrheic Keratosis Dermatologist, Dr. Keith A. Knoell,                    Waynesboro, VA

Serving Waynesboro, Staunton, Lexington and Harrisonburg, VA

SeborrheicKeratosis, dermatologist Waynesboro VA

Benign, non-cancerous skin growths called Seborrheic Keratosis (SK), can appear almost anywhere on your body. SK usually shows up in older people as one single SK or multiples.


Easy to Mistake Seborrheic Keratosis


SK is often mistaken for other common skin growths such as moles or warts. However, most SK’s start as a small, rough bump on the skin. Although, some do appear as smooth and flat. In either case, the bump tends to grow slowly, thickening gradually.


Ranging in color from light tan to black, SK’s measure from a fraction of inch to larger than inch.


Distinguishing Traits


Sk’s are usually dull with a waxy “stuck on the skin” appearance, much like a dab of candle wax. Because on their pasted-on appearance, you would think it would be easy to remove them.


Not so.  Removing them at home can cause bleeding irritation, scarring, and possibly an infection.


Like so many skin diseases, the cause of seborrheic keratosis is unknown.

We do know that SK’s tend to run in families, and they are not contagious.

Like vitiligo, SK’s form on skin that gets both sun exposure, and skin that gets little, if any, exposure. Researchers are working to determine if sun exposure plays a part in causing SK’s.


Because SK’s can appear suddenly when a woman’s estrogen levels rise or fall quickly, (pregnancy, cessation of estrogen therapy) the estrogen hormone is being studied as a possible seborrheic keratoses contributor.

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Where Seborrheic Keratoses Appear on the Body


Although SK can form anywhere on the body, they seem to like the chest, back, scalp, face, and neck. They never form on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.

Seborrheic keratosis dermatologist, Dr. Knoell

Treatment of Seborrheic Keratosis


Because seborrheic keratosis is benign, treatment isn’t necessary. However, if the SK:

  • Grows quickly
  • Turns black
  • Itches
  • Bleeds

Then, yes, it does need to be removed as these are all signs of skin cancer. Additionally, if you suddenly develop numerous SK’s, it’s time to see us! This could be the sign of a more serious health problem.


If you find the SK’s to simply be unsightly, you may elect to have them removed. Check with your insurance company first, though. It may be considered an elective cosmetic procedure and not covered.

seborrheic keratoses dermatologist, waynesboro va

Removal of Seborrheic Keratosis


Some people do elect to have them removed because they are large, easily irritated by clothing or jewelry, or because they are unsightly.


To remove SK’s, there are 2 standard procedures:


Cryosurgery—This is an in-office procedure that freezes the SK, causing it to fall off within days. Following removal, you may see a permanent white spot as a side effect of the treatment.

Electrosurgery and/or Curettage—This, too, is an in-office procedure that uses electric current to burn, or cauterize, the SK. Stitches are not necessary.

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If you would like to have Dr. Knoell check the skin growths on your body, or have them removed, please call our office. We would be happy to help you!  540-221-6702