Are you wondering what those blemishes on your skin are? This extra thickening of keratin – a protein inherent in the skin – is commonly known as keratosis. In general, treatment is undertaken for the following reasons: to prevent its development into cancer or other malignant tumors; or in cases of benign keratosis, to eliminate discomfort or plainly to remove the presence of these unsightly skin blemishes. There are various treatment modalities for keratosis and to know which one you should choose, you must first identify the type of keratosis you have and its underlying cause. This will be a bit difficult for there are three types of keratosis. In the following paragraphs, we will tackle these three types, namely, actinic keratosis, seborrheic keratosis and keratosis pilaris as well as their treatments.
Also popularly known as “solar keratosis” and “senile keratosis, actinic keratosis will be the first in our agenda. The formation of bumps that are consolidated, coarse and diverse in color but usually reddish to brownish on sun-exposed body parts is its symptom. This is usually caused by overexposure to the sun aggravated by the process of aging. Though you seldom experience pain or irritation, this type is dreaded for its precancerous state. Since this type eventually leads to skin cancer, it is a must to receive appropriate treatment. Treatment modalities for actinic keratosis include the use of medications – oral, topical or intravenous – cryosurgery, laser therapy, photodynamic therapy, electrocautery or various surgical procedures.
On the other hand, seborrheic keratosis is characterized by the presence of lesions somehow similar to actinic keratosis which manifest anywhere on the body but on the anterior and posterior chest most of the time. But the primary difference is the seborrheic keratosis’ distinctive waxy or greasy property. Moreover, unlike actinic keratosis, this type does not progress to cancer. Therefore, you will only be concerned by its appearance and by the itching, bleeding or inflammation brought about by its contact with clothing. Having seborrheic keratosis in the family and overexposure to the sun are the essential factors in this type of keratosis’ production. . Since this is not a precursor to cancer, treatment is actually unnecessary. Still, treatments are ready to remove these skin lesions if you want your skin blemish-free. As with actinic keratosis, the affected individual can choose among laser treatments, electrocautery, surgery, curettage or cryosurgery.
Lastly, keratosis pilaris, commonly known as follicular keratosis, like seborrheic keratosis, has a genetic origin. The reddish scaly growths that appear on the posterior chest|back] and the lateral aspect of the arm is what describes this type of keratosis. Due to the excess thickening of keratin, hair follicles are enclosed in skin and eventually form into these small rock-like skin growths. It is also benign, like seborrheic keratosis, so treatments are only for the symptoms. These treatments are the use of light, the use of laser or the use of prescribed medications usually in the form of topical creams.
In conclusion, various treatments for each type of keratosis are already available and I believe they will continue to grow. Therefore, to avoid all of the aforementioned negative health outcomes, you need to maintain your skin integrity. And this basically means: eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly and having enough sleep.