Hyperkeratosis is a skin condition characterised by a thickening of the skin above and beyond what is normal for that area of the body. Keratin is what your nails and hair is made out of, but it’s also what skin is made up of, and when something happens – like you use a tool repetitively, for example – your body will produce extra keratin to protect itself. This is what a callous is.
Sometimes this excess keratin production gets out of control, for example in psoriasis, lichenoid conditions, or eczema. There are a range of reasons for excess keratin production, which are generally treatable using prevention and medications.
Hyper = over, more, extra
Keratosis = skin
Treating hyperkeratosis requires identification of the cause. If the skin is thickening because you do an action repetitively (chopping wood, peeling potatoes), then the solution is obvious: either stop doing the repetitive action or provide some cushioning between your skin and the object. In that case, the thickening of the skin will go away when you cease or protect against the action, but should be considered normal and healthy – you don’t want the skin to wear away in that area!
Other forms of hyperkeratosis can occur on non-irritated skin, possibly with genetic roots. Most areas of skin thickness do not cause pain, though calluses and corns can.
Dermatological treatments for hyperkeratosis
Hyperkeratosis treatment will depend largely on how the skin came to be that way, so the first port of call is to figure out what’s going on. Treatments are then reasonably straightforward, for example, warts can be frozen off, corns can be removed, and medicated creams can be provided for skin conditions. Not all solutions are simple and easy, since some hyperkeratosis can be caused by an autoimmune disease that requires more advanced treatment.
We have a wide range of skin treatments for hyperkeratosis, no matter the cause.