ZocdocAnswers"Are flat, wart-like skin growths normal with age?"

Question

"Are flat, wart-like skin growths normal with age?"

Is it normal to get flat growths, sort of like warts, as you get older? I've got some on my hands that I'm worried about. My partner says it's just an age thing, that these things happen, don't worry about it, etc. But I'm not so sure. How would I even know if these were warts, and shouldn't I get rid of them?

Answer

Unfortunately, skin conditions (warts, rashes etc) can only be diagnosed if they are actually seen by a qualified health care professional. I can run through some possibilities and provide with a plan on how to go forward with these growths. There is such a thing as growths associated with old age. They are known as seborrheic keratosis. These are usually darker, wart like growths that can be raised and rather large. They are benign, have no cancerous potential, and not associated with any type of infection. Some of them resemble a scab from a healing wound. However, there are growths that can look similar to seborrheic keratosis that are not benign. For example, spots of melanoma can sometimes be mistaken for seborrheic keratosis to the untrained eye. I suggest you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a look at them and decide if they are they aforementioned seborrheic keratosis or if they are possibly something else. Your doctor may then decide to refer you to a dermatologist for further consultation. Worrisome skin conditions such as skin cancer and melanoma do occur, so you want to make sure you have these things diagnosed and treated. Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.