Inflamed Seborrheic Keratosis - Western SummaryWestern Medicine Summary

Western Medicine

Western Summary

Inflamed Seborrheic keratoses are rough lesions that become irritated. They are skin growths that typically start to appear when people turn 40 years old. They are more common in people with lighter skin and equally common in men and women. They can grow anywhere there is skin, especially on the back.


Seborrheic keratoses appear as round or oval rough spots that range from very small to several inches in size. They grow from the upper layers of the skin surface, called the epidermis, and are often described as having a “stuck-on” appearance. They can have various colors, from flesh-colored and light tan to dark brown and gray. When a seborrheic keratosis is inflamed, it came become red, swollen, painful, may bleed and can get infected.


Seborrheic keratoses become inflamed due to irritation. This happens more often in seborrheic keratoses that grow around the neck, bra-line, and underwear-line because they are repeatedly rubbed by clothing. Seborrheic keratoses that are more bumpy and warty are more likely to get scraped accidentally and become inflamed.



The treatment for inflamed seborrheic keratoses is the same as that of regular seborrheic keratoses.

Topical treatments

  • Topical chemicals: Topical ammonium lactate and alpha hydroxyl acids can decrease the height of seborrheic keratoses. They will not make the seborrheic keratosis go away completely.
  • Topical retinoids: This treatment can make seborrheic keratosis less noticeable, but they will not make them go away.
  • Topical hydrogen peroxide: An FDA approved treatment for seborrheic keratoses includes the use of topical 40% hydrogen peroxide. 


  • Cryotherapy: This treatment involves freezing the seborrheic keratosis with liquid nitrogen.
  • Electrocautery: This treatment involves carefully destroying the seborrheic keratosis using a metal tip heated by electric current. Sometimes the lesion is scraped off with a round and sharp surgical instrument known as a curette.
  • Surgical removal: This treatment involves removing the seborrheic keratosis using a razor-like blade or surgical knife by “shaving” the seborrheic keratosis at its base. There are usually no stitches required. Many times the removed sample will be processed and analyzed under a microscope as a biopsy to validate the diagnosis.