What Causes Hyperkeratosis?

What Causes Hyperkeratosis?

The body is predisposed to protect itself against many forms of perils. For instance, incessant rubbing, irritation, pressure, infection and friction of the skin results in Hyperkeratosis. Hyperkeratosis is a condition that is characterized by the thickening of the outer skin as a way of protecting the inner skin tissue from harm. Hyperkeratosis can also be brought about by radiation through overexposure to sunlight as well as chemical inflammation. However, there are various types of Hyperkeratosis thus the causes differ depending on the skin infection one has. Here is a look at the some examples and their causes.

  • Warts – These are thick bumpy growths that appear on parts of the body that are mostly in contact with people who are already infected or surfaces that are contaminated. Warts are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The body parts likely to have this type of Hyperkeratosis are usually the hands and feet. Plantar warts usually occur on the soles of the feet and most people get these after walking barefoot in a pool area or gym. Plantar warts are also caused by sharing shoes with someone who is already infected.
  • Calluses and corns – People who wear tight shoes are likely to suffer from corns on their toes due to continued friction and pressure. Calluses are common at the bottom of the foot and the hands as well. Even though they are usually not harmful, calluses and corns can be quite painful in some cases.
  • Lichen planus – This may occur in the inside of the mouth or on the skin. If this type of Hyperkeratosis arises in the mouth, there is presence of a white patch. This is mostly caused by friction which can be brought on by dentures. It however may also be a response triggered by an aberrant occurrence in the immune system.
  • Eczema – This is a form of skin irritation usually caused by an allergic reaction to certain chemicals. Also referred to as dermatitis, this inflammatory skin condition can cause a lot of discomfort due to itching. If the condition worsens it may lead to variation in skin complexion and hair loss.
  • Actinic keratosis – This is caused by radiation. Excess exposure to the sun results in tiny, flat, coarse blemishes that may even lead to skin cancer.


Even though most cases of Hyperkeratosis are caused by some thing, there are people who get the aforementioned skin conditions through genetics. In such instances, the individual will get the skin infection shortly after they are born.


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