Seborrhoeic Warts

Seborrhoeic warts at Belgravia Dermatology

  • About – Seborrhoeic warts are harmless growths on the skin. Most people have at least one or two, and some have tens or more.
  • Treatments – Seborrhoeic warts can be frozen or scraped off
  • Next step – If you would like assessment or treatment for seborrhoeic warts then please arrange to see on of our Dermatologists

What is a seborrhoeic wart?

Seborrhoeic warts are also referred to as seborrhoeic keratoses, age warts or senile warts. They are harmless growths which are very common in those over 40. They are due to a build up of ordinary looking skin cells, and get more common with age. Most people over 40 will have a handful of seborrhoeic warts, and some will have very large numbers. They are not infectious and will not become malignant.

What do seborrhoeic warts look like?

Initially lesions are usually light brown, small and flat or with a lightly rough texture They can become more raised and larger as the years go by. Their size varies from less than one centimetre to several centimetres across. They are usually skin coloured, tan or brown but may be black, white, pink or even grey. They give the impression that they are stuck onto the surface of the skin, especially when they are looked at from the side. The temptation is to peel them off (but this can not be done as they are a part of the skin). Some lesions may resemble small pigmented skin tags especially around the eyes and on the neck.

Seborrhoeic warts occur most often on the back, chest, face and neck but can occur anywhere on the body. Their numbers vary: one person may have just one seborrhoeic wart; others have hundreds of them. Once present, they usually stay, and new ones often appear with time.

What are the symptoms of seborrhoeic warts?

Most lesions do not cause any problems. They can be bothersome because of how they look, and this is the main reason for having them removed. They may also itch, and catch on clothing. Sometimes warts become inflamed and start to scab. Very occasionally seborrhoeic warts can look ambiguous and mimic a skin cancer and it is best to get them checked if they start looking different to other warts.

I have hundreds of lesions – is this normal?

It is certainly well recognised that some individuals are prone to developing large numbers of seborrhoeic warts. This tendency is often hereditary, and runs in families.

Can seborrhoeic warts be treated?

Treatment for seborrhoeic warts can be by freezing them (cryotherapy) or by gently scraping them away (curettage). They and also be melted away with cautery. They will not respond to wart creams. Several lesions can be treated in one sitting if necessary. Local anaesthetic may be required. Stitches are not typically required and the areas heal very well within one to two weeks. Repeat treatment may be required.

Seborrhoeic wart treatments at Belgravia Dermatology

  • Detailed consultation and skin analysis by a Dermatologist including a full head to toe skin check assessing all warts and other skin lesions with Dermoscopy
  • Advice on how to monitor your moles
  • Wart removal for cosmetic reasons or for analysis – by freeze treatment (cryotherapy, scraping (curettage) or melting (cautery)

What should I do next?

If you would like assessment or treatment for seborrhoeic warts then please arrange to see one of our Dermatologists who will be happy to help.

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      +44 (0) 207 112 8622

    (Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm)

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