Hyperkeratosis is the thickening of the skin caused by excess production of the protein keratin. There are a number of types of hyperkeratosis. The most common places for hyperkeratosis to occur are the knees, the elbows, the soles of the feet and the palms. Hyperkeratosis may emerge in the feet as corns and calluses. Warts are another type of hyperkeratosis. Some conditions of hyperkeratosis such as lichen planus manifest in the mouth. Keratosis pilaris is a form of hyperkeratosis that shows as small, pimple-like bumps in the place of your hair follicles. Actinic keratosis appears as thick, scaly or crusty bumps of skin on sun-exposed areas and can look similar to a large mole.
If you suspect that you have an occurrence of hyperkeratosis it is advisable to make an appointment with a doctor or dermatologist in order to for them to diagnose the condition. Your doctor will probably ask you if you have a family history of skin problems, if you have a personal history of allergies and if you are exposed to the sun frequently. If you have conditions like corns, calluses, warts and chronic eczema, sometimes the doctor can diagnose the cause of your hyperkeratosis based on your history and symptoms and an examination of your skin. If your doctor suspects that you have lichen planus, a condition of hyperkeratosis that may appear as a lacy white patch on the inside of the mouth, he or she may ask if you use dentures, unconsciously chew the inside of your mouth or use smokeless tobacco. In some cases the doctor will take a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. In a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed and then examined in a laboratory. If your doctor suspects that you have actinic keratosis – rough red spots caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolent radiation from the sun – you may need to have a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and rule out skin cancer. While forms of hyperkeratosis like corns and calluses are more likely to be painful, actinic keratosis may be a more serious form of hyperkeratosis as it can develop into squamous cell skin cancer. Actinic keratosis is the appearance of thick, scaly or crusty bumps of skin on sun-exposed areas. Actinic keratosis is premalignant and is associated with sun damage. Whenever you notice a change in color, size or thickness of a skin growth or mole, be sure to go to a doctor to have a diagnosis carried out.
If your child has hyperkeratosis, his or her doctor may review your family history and skin symptons, which will help to determine whether your child has an inherited disorder.
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