Although these growths are frequently confused with warts, moles, actinic keratoses, and melanoma skin cancer, they differ in a variety of ways.
- Warts are caused by a virus; seborrheic keratoses aren’t caused by a virus. Warts tend to develop more quickly, they don’t get as dark in color, and they don’t have that “pasted-on” appearance.
- Moles are skin-colored, or tan to brown in color. Almost everyone develops 20-30 moles during his or her lifetime-usually during childhood.
- Actinic keratoses, also called solar keratoses, are caused by the sun, and occur on body areas that have been exposed to the sunlight. The face, hands, forearms, and V of the neck are the most common areas for actinic keratoses. These growths are more common among pale-skinned, fair-haired, light-eyed individuals. They are flatter, redder, and rougher than seborrheic keratoses. Actinic keratoses are pre-cancerous, which means they may become skin cancers. Any raised, reddish, rough-textured growth should be examined by a dermatologist.
Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer. Melanomas are often, but not always, dark brown to bluish-black growths. Melanomas may be confused with seborrheic keratoses because both can become very dark. It is wise to have any growth that turns dark, bleeds, itches, or becomes irritated checked by a dermatologist. Early detection of skin cancer is the best way to assure successful treatment.