Hyperkeratosis is a type of keratosis. Keratosis is a skin disorder that caused by overproduction of keratin. Hyperkeratosis is associated with qualitative abnormality of the keratin causing thickening of the stratum corneum the horny layer of the skin. Thickening of this horny layer causes the granular layer to thicken too. This is normally due to constant friction, rubbing together and applied pressure. This leads to hardening of the skin. Chronic pressure in the tissue causes production of keratin to counter friction. This is basically a defense mechanism that protects the skin from wearing out further. Hyperkeratosis affects different body parts. It affects the palms, elbows, knees and the soles of your feet as they are the most subjected to pressure compared to other body parts.
Hyperkeratosis is characterized by thickening of tissues. Theses tissues are also keratinized and can also be striated. This is what is seen when an exam is done on the tissue. The tissue appears damaged. The physical characteristics of hyperkeratosis are tough lesions. These lesions are sand-paper like in most cases.
There are different types of hyperkeratosis. There are warts, corns, chronic eczema and calluses.
Hyperkeratosis is caused by deficiency in vitamin A and chronic exposure to arsenic. Vitamin A is useful to the body as it helps to make the skin moist. Vitamin A also helps in growth of new cells and repairs of body tissue. Moisture helps to reduce friction hence reducing chances of you getting hyperkeratosis. Tissue and cell repair is essential as it helps the skin damaged by friction to get back. Foods such as egg yolk, fortified milk, beef liver, fish liver oils and cheese are important to counter a deficiency in Vitamin A. Arsenic is a chemical element, it occurs in many minerals and it is mostly combined with sulfur and metals. Arsenic is poisonous to multicellular life. You are mostly exposed to it when you use pesticides and insecticides as it is a component of some of them. A lot of exposure to these chemicals leads to chronic exposure to arsenic hence leading to hyperkeratosis. For this reason, please do take preventive measures.
Hyperkeratosis can be diagnosed easily by sight making a biopsy unnecessary. A biopsy becomes necessary when the areas appear different or fall out of normal range.
In conclusion, there are known causes of hyperkeratosis as you have seen. Ensure that you protect yourself and prevent this skin disorder.