A seborrheic keratosis is a type of skin growth. They can be unsightly, but the growths aren’t harmful. However, in some cases a seborrheic keratosis can be difficult to distinguish from melanoma, a very serious type of skin cancer.

A seborrheic keratosis isn’t dangerous, but you shouldn’t ignore growths on your skin. It can be difficult to distinguish between harmless and dangerous growths. Something that looks like seborrheic keratosis could actually be melanoma.

Have a healthcare provider check your skin if:

  • there’s a new growth
  • there’s a change in appearance of an existing growth
  • there’s only one growth (seborrheic keratosis usually exists as several)
  • a growth has an unusual color, such as purple, blue, or reddish-black
  • a growth has borders that are irregular (blurred or jagged)
  • a growth is irritated or painful

Multiple lesions may appear, although at the beginning there may be just one. Growths can be found on many areas of the body, including the:

  • chest
  • scalp
  • shoulders
  • back
  • abdomen
  • face

Growths are usually round or oval-shaped and are usually brown, but they can also be yellow, white, or black.

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