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Keratosis is sometimes misspelled as keritosis. This skin condition is basically an overgrowth of keratin on the skin.

What is keratin? Keratin is a tough and fibrous insoluble protein that is the main structural component of the epidermis (the outer layer of skin), nails, and hair.

When the keratin component of the skin grows faster than it normally should then this skin condition develops. There are several different forms or types of this skin problem and each different type is discussed briefly below. More information can be found at the respective pages for each keratosis type by clicking on the links below.

Actinic or Solar Keratosis

Actinic or the solar version of this skin care problem is a pre-cancerous growth of thick patchy skin caused by overexposure to the sun usually over many years. It is usually found on the face and hands and other typical skin areas that are likely to receive a lot of sun exposure. It commonly occurs in fair skinned individuals such as red-haired individuals. Because this is a pre-cancerous condition, any appearance of these growths needs to be carefully monitored. It is recommended to have a dermatologist examine the growth on a regular basis to ensure it is not cancerous.

Pilaris, Polaris, Chicken Skin

Pilaris or polaris type, as it is sometimes called, is characterized by the appearance of small bumps that are usually white in color. The bumps look like goose bumps or chicken skin. Usually these bumps are found on the backs of the upper arms, thighs, or buttocks areas.


The seborrheic version or type of this skin problem results in wart-like skin growths. Many can be present on the surface of the skin at the same time. They can be found in a variety of different colors, but are generally benign or not cancerous and are not painful. However, the skin growths may be itchy and can be quite disfiguring in the appearance of the skin.


This version of the skin disease is hereditary and originates in a hair follicle. It often appears as dark crusty patches on the surface of the skin.


The senile type is related to the actinic or solar type. It is a term given to skin lesions appearing on the face and back of the hands of elderly individuals. It is brought on by prolonged sun exposure over the years. It is a pre-malignant or pre-cancerous skin condition and therefore should be carefully monitored for changes.

Actinic Cheilitis

Actinic cheilitis is essentially the same as actinic keratosis. The main distinction is that actinic or solar cheilitis targets the skin on the lips. Once again it is important to note any changes in the lip growths and visit a physician if there are any concerns.

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