Keratosis is a general reference to several skin conditions which involve lesions being formed on the skin. There are many causes of keratosis and most of them are preventable. Some forms of keratosis are simply hereditary and are therefore completely unavoidable. These hereditary forms of keratosis mostly go away when the person is older. There are benign and malignant forms of keratosis. Keratosis is most common in fair-skinned people and develops rough scaly wart-like growths.
Keratosis Pilaris is one type that is mostly confused with acne. It also seems to appear in most of the places that acne also appears. These include the back, thighs and the face. It is mostly found among adolescent people and this is probably why it’s confused with acne. Keratosis pilaris resembles goose bumps and has a coarse texture. It is treated with exfoliation, moisturizing creams and alpha hydroxyl acids.
Seborrheic keratosis is another type and resembles warts that are either raised or flat. They are most prevalent among people who are over 40 years old. They vary in color ranging from shades of white and red. Treatment of this type of keratosis is not done by creams and exfoliation. It is treated by surgical excision where it is severed from the skin. Follow-up skin biopsies are done to determine whether the growth is cancerous.
Actinic keratosis is another form of keratosis and is by far the most dangerous of them all. It is also known as solar keratosis or senile keratosis. It is mostly prevalent is light-skinned people whose activities lead to over-exposure to sunlight. As a result of this very light-skinned people are advised to wear protective clothing and use sunscreen creams to protect them from developing the condition. They are generally advised to avoid unnecessary exposure to sunlight since the effects of too much exposure can be long lasting and may cause keratosis many years later.
As mentioned earlier, most types of keratosis are acquired and can therefore be prevented. Hereditary forms in most cases reduce as the person ages. Prevention of non-hereditary forms is therefore the safest option in this case. It involves use of sunscreen lotions and wearing protective clothing like hats while in the sun. Exposure to sunlight has been cited as the major cause of keratosis so people should make an effort to limit this exposure. This is especially so for fair skinned people who have little melanin which protects darker skinned people from sun-damage. Excessive exposure to the sun not only causes keratosis but it also causes premature aging and wrinkling of the skin. Keratosis is treated in many ways such as surgery, freezing and laser treatments. The forms of the condition that are cancerous require long-term treatment with regular follow-up checkups.
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