Are you wondering what those blemishes on your skin are? This is called keratosis – the growth of excess protein named keratin in the skin. In general, treatment is undertaken for the following reasons: to prevent its development into cancer or other malignant tumors; or in cases of benign keratosis, to eliminate discomfort or plainly to remove the presence of these unsightly skin blemishes. The most important thing to consider before choosing the treatment that is right for you is to let a specialist identify your keratosis type and to find out its cause. This will be a bit hard for there are three most common types of keratosis. These are actinic keratosis, seborrheic keratosis and keratosis pilaris which we will be disussing along with their respective treatments.
The first on the list is actinic keratosis which is alternately referred to as “solar keratosis” and “senile keratosis”. This keratosis is characterized by the presence of thickened, rough bumps which greatly vary in color – but mostly reddish or brownish – on the skin of body parts constantly overexposed to the sun. This is usually caused by overexposure to the sun aggravated by the process of aging. Though you seldom experience pain or irritation, this type is dreaded for its malignancy. Therefore, this should be treated at the earliest stage possible to prevent its progression to cancer. Treatment modalities for actinic keratosis include the use of medications – oral, topical or intravenous – cryosurgery, laser therapy, photodynamic therapy, electrocautery or various surgical procedures.
On the other hand, seborrheic keratosis is characterized by the presence of lesions somehow similar to actinic keratosis which manifest anywhere on the body but on the anterior and posterior chest most of the time. However, from all its dissimilarities with actinic keratosis, the quality that stands out the most is its waxiness or greasiness. Moreover, unlike actinic keratosis, this type does not progress to cancer. It is safe to say that your enemies are merely unattractiveness and the effects of coming in contact with clothing such as itching, bleeding or skin inflammation. Genetics and prolonged sun exposure are the causes of seborrheic keratosis . Due to its inability to cause cancer, treatment is only optional. But if we are talking about physical appearance, there are several ways with which we can remove these unwanted lesions. These are laser treatments, electrocautery, surgical excision, curettage or the use of cryogens.
Genetics is the single most important factor in the existence of the third type – keratosis pilaris, usually called follicular keratosis. Its usual symptom is the presence of reddish scaly bumps on the posterior chest and the lateral aspect of the arm. Its cause is the overgrowth of keratin resulting to hair follicle enclosure and the eventual formation of tiny, almost rock-like bumps. Since it is not cancerous, treatments are utilized only for symptom management including itch and discomfort. These treatments are the use of light, the use of laser or the use of prescribed medications usually in the form of topical creams.
Currently, receiving any treatment regimen for any of these three keratosis types is not a problem. However, if you do not want to experience the fear of acquiring skin cancer, the discomfort brought about by the itching or inflammation, or the ugliness it brings to your physical appearance, you have to ensure you take good care of your skin. And this is done through proper nutrition, adequate hydration, regular exercise and adequate rest, sleep and regular check ups with a dermatologist if you find any new marks on your skin.