If there is one thing that is certain about hyperkeratosis it is that it a contradiction in terms. It can be easy to see in some areas, yet it is hard to see in other areas, so what are some of the warning signs?
First and foremost, you must take an inventory of your body to see exactly what is going on. This may sound silly but it is quite necessary if you are to determine whether you may be prone to hyperkertatosis. (Using a floor length mirror helps in this assessment, as well as a willingness to look at yourself in the mirror).
First, look at your feet and see if you have any unusual corns or calluses. If you do then the chances are good you have hyperkeratosis and you will either have to see a pediatric specialist, or, at a minimum, getting shoes the properly fit you.
Then, look closely at your legs and thighs to make sure you don’t have an discolorations that may mark the arrival of a different form of hyperkeratosis, actinic keratosis or seborrheic keratosis, both of which are marked by discoloration and lesions that can be waxy and tan or dark brown and black and crumbly. If you notice any of these lesions on this part of your body, then it’s a very good idea to find a dermatologist who specializes in this field. Actinic keratosis, while, it is usually benign, can also be per-cancerous in some patients and a biopsy may be needed. Seborrheic keratosis is also marked by discoloration and lesions that appear crumbly and are always benign but you need a specialist who understands the difference and has the diagnostic equipment to do this work.
Moving upward, check other parts of your body for these lesions, notably the chest and back areas and while you are at it look at your arms and hands to see if you might have a wart forming, you can tell by the circular nature of the lesion and its localization. Also, check to see if you have calluses on your hands that may need some care as they indicate your hands are suffering from a form of hyperkeratosis. If you do work with your hands, then, you will likely continue to have this problem until you retire or change employment.
Moving upward, take a close look at the bridge of your nose and your cheeks as well as your forehead to see if you are developing signs of actinic keratosis or seborrheic keratosis. You will find the same type of lesions at the corners of your mouth or you may find blotchiness that indicates seborrheic kerastosis.
Finally, check with your dentist and have your entire mouth checked for lichens planus, another form of hyperkeratosis and its lacy white signs. If your dentist does find this, then you will have to see a specialist in orofactorial disease to ensure that you have the correct diagnosis made and that it does not become cancerous.
One last check is for the telltale blotchiness of eczema which can eventually lead to hyperkeratosis. You can tell by red blotches on your forehead, flaking or scaling skin.
In some cases, hyperkeratosis, while very curable in most people, will last a lifetime, if your family has a hereditary history of this skin disorder.
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