What Is Hyper Keratosis?
The outer layer of human skin contains a tough protein called keratin. This keratin serves to protect the skin against irritation, rubbing, or pressure. The excess thickening of the outer layer of the skin that contains keratin is what we call hyper keratosis.
There are different types of hyper keratosis. These variants of hyperkeratosis are classified base on their visual diagnosis, origin or cause, as well as the extent of risk it may pose to one’s health.
Examples of hyper keratosis include palmar and plantar keratosis, corns and calluses, chronic eczema, lichen planus, actinic keratosis, seborrheic keratosis, and ichthyosis.
Palmar and plantar keratosis is an inborn, often inherited type of hyper keratosis. This hyper keratosis can be identified by thickening of the horny layer of the skin of the palms and soles. Formation of fissures can be visible in this hyper keratosis and sometimes causes painful lesions.
Corns and calluses are common types of hyper keratosis. When areas of skin are experiencing recurring friction or pressure, thick layers of dead skin cells develop the hardened areas we call corns and calluses. The hyper keratosis in the form of corns usually forms on irritated toes, while hyper keratosis in the form of calluses develops on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. Generally, corns and calluses are hyper keratosis that can be considered merely a cosmetic irritation, but in some cases, this type of hyper keratosis is a painful and troublesome medical difficulty.
Another variant of hyper keratosis is chronic eczema. Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a swelling of the skin that can be activated by allergies, irritating chemicals, and other reasons. Chronic eczema is an inflammation that is difficult to control. This hyperkeratosis is characterized by dry skin, scaling, skin color changes, and localized hair loss.
Lichen planus is also a hyper keratosis condition. This type of hyper keratosis may appear as a lacy white patch or as an itchy, violet, scaly area anywhere on the skin.
Actinic keratosis is a type of hyper keratosis that is flat, red, rough sandpaperlike patches of skin. This hyperkeratosis can be as small as a few millimeters. They crop up on sun-exposed areas of skin. This hyper keratosis must be treated immediately because it is most likely to advance into squamous cell carcinoma.
Seborrheic keratosis is a hyperkertosis that is small, noncancerous skin growth. They can be black, brown, or tan. Normally, hyperkeratosis can be found on the face, trunk, arms or legs.
Ichthyosis is a hyperkeratosis that can be identified by a widespread, thick, plate like scaling of the skin.