Seborrheic Keratosis vs. Melanoma: What’s the Difference

What Is Seborrheic Keratoses?

Seborrheic keratoses are skin conditions caused by the presence of abnormal amounts of dead skin cells called sebaceous glands. These excess sebum produce oil which makes your face oily and red. They may appear on your scalp or underarms, but they tend to be most noticeable around your neck, chest, back and legs. You might have one or several types of seborrheais.

The condition is known as seborrhoeic keratoses (SK) because the excess sebum produced by the sebaceous glands produces a thick layer of blackheads and whiteheads on your skin. SK can occur anywhere on your body, but tends to affect areas where there are large numbers of hair follicles such as underarms, armpits, groin area and neck.

There are two forms of seborrheic keratoses:

1. Acanthosis nigricans : The most common form of seborrheic keratoses. Usually occurs on the trunk and extremities, especially the palms of hands and soles of feet.

Blackheads develop when oil from the skin is trapped between dead skin cells, causing them to clump together.

2.An Acquired Horn : These are rough-textured, tan, brown or black growths that resemble an animal horn. They most commonly affect the face, neck, chest and back.

They usually develop after the age of 30 and are more common in men than women.

What causes seborrheic keratoses?

There is no definitive information on what causes seborrheic keratoses.

Sources & references used in this article:

Dermoscopic clues for diagnosing melanomas that resemble seborrheic keratosis by C Carrera, S Segura, P Aguilera, M Scalvenzi… – JAMA …, 2017 –

Melanoma mimicking seborrheic keratosis: an error of perception precluding correct dermoscopic diagnosis by JCT Braga, A Scope, I Klaz, P Mecca, P Spencer… – Journal of the American …, 2008 – Elsevier

Recent advances in managing and understanding seborrheic keratosis by U Wollina – F1000Research, 2019 –

The status of the seborrheic keratosis by AS Karadag, LC Parish – Clinics in dermatology, 2018 – Elsevier

Frequency of seborrheic keratosis biopsies in the United States: a benchmark of skin lesion care quality and cost effectiveness by MI Duque, JR Jordan, AB Fleischer Jr… – Dermatologic …, 2003 – Wiley Online Library

… of a full clinical examination: assessment of index lesions referred to a skin cancer clinic without a total body skin examination would miss one in three melanomas by RB Aldridge, L NAySMITH, ET Ooi… – Acta dermato …, 2013 –

Melanomas that failed dermoscopic detection: a combined clinicodermoscopic approach for not missing melanoma by S Puig, G Argenziano, I Zalaudek, G Ferrara… – Dermatologic …, 2007 – Wiley Online Library