What is Hyperkeratosis?

Hyperkeratosis is a very common skin lesion characterized by a roughening of the skin in small areas. These may coalesce and form larger areas. At first they may be small so as to escape detection, but they may often be felt if the fingers run light over the affected area. This is the way in which they are found by the patient.

A small area of skin reddening usually occurs. The skin becomes rough, and may be scaling. Later a tough outgrowth may occur. These lesions may occur in any age and the term “senile” does not relate to their age distribution.

They are more common in outdoor workers, and the elements definitely play part in their formation. They are common in sailors and farmers, and anyone exposed to the rigors of the elements for prolonged periods. They are extremely common in Australia, where hot conditions prevail for many months and in sunny climates, many outdoor workers will suffer from them. Bald heads are special risk. The face, especially the forehead and the ears, are common. Large numbers may be diagnosed on a patient.

Hyperkeratosis Treatment

Immediately any roughening of the skin is detected in the “at risk” areas, see the doctor promptly. Avoid putting it off to tomorrow, for early treatment will provide excellent results.

Salicylic acid is a popular method of treatment. The use of an application called 5-Fluorouracil often destroys these toxins and brings the skin surface back to normal in a few weeks. This treatment should first be given under medical supervision. The product is available under the commercial name Efudix. If this is unsatisfactory, or if the doctor believes you are a suitable candidate for this form of treatment, diathermy is very effective. It may take anywhere from one to three weeks for the wound to heal, but a cure is the usual result. But diathermy, “dry ice” and other methods are also effective. These are done by the doctor.

People exposed to much outdoor activity and sunshine and other elements are advised to pay particular attention to the development of these tumors. Wearing protective headgear is wise. The use of ultraviolet light screeners is also advisable. (For example “Sunsense,” or Blockout or ITvistat or ICI Ultraviolet Filter Cream are among some of the popular lines widely used, use Factor 15.)