What are Brown Spots (seborrheic keratoses)?

Brown Spots (seborrheic keratoses)

These lectures are not meant to replace your physician and are simply provided as a free educational service to all our visitors. If you feel that you have a skin problem, please see your doctor.

A common skin problem that dermatologists see are the brownish, waxy growths on the skin called seborrheic keratoses. They are often seen with brown spots that look like freckles of different sizes scattered over the body surface called lentigenes.

Seborrheic keratoses are cosmetic nuisances and are not a cancerous or pre-cancerous condition. They are a common manifestation of the maturation process of human skin. The condition also tends to be familial or inherited in nature.

Seborrheic keratoses do not reflect any internal disease, nutritional, metabolic, hormonal or vitamin deficiency. It seems that as we mature, the cells of the skin that make pigment begin to lose their ability to be evenly distributed over the skin surface. They aggregate together to produce the local areas of increased pigmentation that we call lentigenes. With time, these lentigenes become thicker over their surfaces and acquire a waxy wart like surface. It is as if the skin is making a futile attempt to add more skin over the areas of increased pigmentation in order to try to dilute the pigment and make the spot lighter in color.

Those seborrheic keratoses that are large or troublesome can be removed for cosmetic reasons, but it is not mandatory that these be removed.

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