Keratosis is a skin condition which develops as a result of excess keratin being produced. This results in hard crusty skin. Keratosis is not usually harmful but there are some forms of this skin condition that are premalignant and have chances of forming cancer. Keratosis has sub types some of which are solar keratosis, actinic keratosis and keratosis pilaris.
Solar keratosis is a skin condition in which the skin may develop one or several lumps. These bumps on the skin come about as a result of overexposure to the sun. It is also referred to as actinic keratosis. These spots vary in size and range from the size of a pinhead to 3cm in diameter. The most common colors these spots have are pink, red, your skin color or a combination of all. These spots are more often felt than seen. Sometimes, the skin may have an abnormal growth resulting in a horn like structure referred to as a cutaneous horn.
Several of these spots may develop in the same area. There have even been cases where these spots merge into one another and form one big patch of scaly skin. Solar keratosis develops on skin that has been exposed to the sun for long durations. Examples of such areas are like the ears, neck, and the back of the hands and in some cases bald patches on the scalp. These spots can also be seen in other areas like the legs, back and hands for people who like sunbathing and tanning themselves often. An often indicator that you may be developing this skin condition is when you feel itchy or a prickly sensation in the affected area.
Who is at risk?
Anyone can develop solar keratosis but it will be seen in light skinned individuals more. There is the common misconception that this condition develops after one incidence of exposure. This is wrong because the skin has the ability to heal itself after too much exposure to the sun on one day, however continuous exposure will weaken the skin’s ability to heal and eventually will give way to solar keratosis.
People who are dark skinned have less chances of developing this condition because of the amount of melanin found in their skin. Melanin is a pigment that gives skin its color. Also it protects the skin from the sun’s UV rays. Light skinned people have less of this pigment and hence develop the condition much faster.