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Seborrhoeic Warts

Seborrhoeic Warts, also known as Seborrhoeic Keratosis, are very common.  They may develop at any age but are more common in people aged 40 years and older.  Seborrhoeic Warts are often raised, brown and crusty.  Sometimes they are itchy.  They are more likely to affect the upper half of the body, especially the upper back in men and under the bust in women.

No-one knows why we get Seborrhoeic Warts.  It isn't possible to prevent Seborrhoeic Warts from developing, but gently exfoliating the skin on a regular basis may help to reduce the roughness.  

Seborrhoeic Warts are harmless and do not change in to anything sinister.  However most people do not like the appearance or feel of the warts.  For others, itching may be a problem. 

Most Seborrhoeic Warts are helped by Cryotherapy (Freezing).  The treatment involves having a very cold spray directed on to the warts.  Each Seborrhoeic Wart is treated for about 10 seconds, turning it in to an ice-ball (see photo above).  The treatment stings and most people find it uncomfortable.  Luckily each treatment only lasts for about 10 seconds per wart.


Cryotherapy causes inflammation of the Seborrhoeic Wart.  After treatment, the Seborrhoeic Wart may swell up in size, become a bit red, it may be itchy or it may even blister.  This can last for 1 - 2 weeks.  After this the Seborrhoeic Wart dries up, then starts to crust and fall off over the next 2 weeks.  For most people the area heals without any scarring, but there is always a risk of developing a pale white patch (hypopigmentation) at the treated area.  Seborrhoeic Warts may recur after Cryotherapy, although it usually takes several years to do so. Sometimes the Seborrhoeic Warts do not respond to treatment with Cryotherapy, particularly with thicker Seborrhoeic Warts.  In this situation, the Seborrhoeic Wart may need to be removed by surgery.

Please click on the links below to read the Patient Information Leaflet on Seborrhoeic Warts:

British Association of Dermatologists 

New Zealand Academy of Dermatology

Please click on the link below to read the Patient Information Leaflet on Cryotherapy:

British Association of Dermatologists

Please click here to book an appointment and to see the Price List for Cryotherapy

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