Growing older may mean more wrinkles and creaking joints, but why does it also entail an accumulation of barnacles. These brown, somewhat friable, often warty lesions are more common on senior citizens but are not necessarily limited to the chronologically challenged. Seborrheic keratoses (SKs) can be easily recognized (fig 1), but the itching and the occasional scratch-induced dermatitis make them more than a cosmetic nuisance. (fig 2)
SKs can go by a variety of names, ranging from basal cell papillomas, senile warts, and senile keratoses to seborrheic verrucae and verrucous senilis. The various terms provide no more information on their natural history or the etiology of these benign lesions, other than that age is somehow associated. (1)
Recommended CitationParish, Lawrence Charles and Witkowski, Joseph A., "Barnacles, old age marks, or just plain seborrheic keratoses." (2005). Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 122.