Senile keratosis is the type of keratosis which is also known as solar or actinic keratosis. There is a slight difference from the other two even though sometimes the names are used interchangeably. The senile form of the keratosis is the one found specifically in elderly people. It is most prevalent in people who are over 50 years of age.
Senile keratosis is characterized by papules or bumps of differing sizes that may be flat or slightly raised. These growths have a distinct demarcation at the borders and vary in color from grey to greyish black. They have also been seen in shades of red such as pink. Another common name for this type of keratosis is senile warts. This is because of their soft, wart-like appearance. They are not related to warts however since they have no connection to the human papilloma virus which causes warts. The senile keratosis may make the skin to be dry and may cause scaling in some areas but are however not painful.
This type of keratosis is caused by excessive exposure to sunlight over many years. For this reason, senile keratosis is mostly prevalent in light-skinned people. It is also more prevalent in areas that experience sunny climates such as the tropical regions. In countries with economic activities that involve exposure to the sun for long duration of times such as the rice planting countries of Asia, this condition is very popular among the elderly.
Senile keratosis is treated with surgical removal and cryotherapy. Application of topical creams is usually done to improve the appearance of these growths and does not cure them. It is also done to soothe discomfort that may be experienced when the growths rub against clothing. This form of keratosis is dangerous as it is pre-cancerous. Statistics suggests that 20% of the cases of senile keratosis develop into skin cancer. The type of cancer that forms from this type of growths is called squamous cell carcinoma. This is according to a study carried out on keratosis patients and is compelling enough to make a person want to get medical help when they develop the condition.
The only sure way to prevent this type of keratosis is to limit exposure to the sun and when exposure is inevitable for long periods of time, a person should apply sunscreen creams with high protection factors. A protection factor of over 30 is recommended. The other way of preventing the condition is by wearing protective clothing such as hats, long sleeved shirts and trousers. Using umbrellas is also a good measure to prevent it especially for holiday makers who sunbathe often.
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