When the outer layer of the skin thickens, this condition is known as hyperkeratosis. This outer layer contains a tough protective protein called keratin. The thickening of the skin is part of its protection against rubbing, pressure, and other forms of local irritation. This however causes calluses and corns on the hand and feet and can cause a whitish area inside the mouth. Many times, other types of hyperkeratosis will occur because of the skins defenses against chronic long lasting inflammation, infection, radiation of sunlight and irritating chemicals. Many of the forms of hyperkeratosis are painless. Corns, calluses, and plantar warts can however be quite discomforting.
It is rare for hyperkeratosis to begin to develop on skin that has not been irritated unless it is the inherited type of keratosis, which may immediately occur after birth and might probably affect the skin on large areas of the body. The length of the time a particular form of hyperkeratosis lasts depends on its cause. Corns and calluses will last as long as you continue wearing shoes that do not fit you properly Warts may take several months but they will probably disappear on their own. Inherited forms of hyperkeratosis are lifelong conditions.
Some forms of hyperkeratosis can easily be prevented especially in children. To protect children from hyperkeratosis, it is important that they always wear shoes that are comfortable because corns and calluses occur as a result of wearing uncomfortable shoes. Children should not go barefoot in places such as pool areas and they should be treated with utmost care so that you avoid potential triggers and help limit eczema symptoms. It is important to avoid extreme temperatures, dry air, harsh soaps, bubble baths and irritating chemicals.
It is also better to try using blankets and clothing made of cotton. For example wool, silk and rough synthetic can be more irritating. Also avoiding or removing triggers for your allergies may also be helpful. It is important to seek advice and treatment for mild eczema to help prevent it from becoming a long lasting condition which will become chronic eczema.
It is also important to limit any exposure to the sun and to maybe get out in the sun only early in the mornings or late in the afternoon hours when the sun is milder. To protect children from hyperkeratosis it is important to make them wear protective clothing and a hat when going outdoors and to apply sunscreen lotion to the areas that are exposed to the sun with a sun protection factor SPF of at least 30.
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