Have you ever puzzled take away laborious pores and skin and what causes it within the first place? Exhausting areas of pores and skin are pretty widespread – from the callused fingers and ft of athletes to thick and cracked heels as we age – pores and skin can change into laborious for a lot of causes. The widespread characteristic of all causes of laborious pores and skin is that the useless pores and skin cell layer is thick, dense and hardens. It’s known as hyperkeratosis and hyperkeratotic laborious pores and skin can crack and change into painful.
The medical title for laborious pores and skin is hyperkeratosis.
I will clarify the causes of laborious pores and skin and share dermatologist’s suggestions for protecting your pores and skin gentle and stopping laborious pores and skin from forming.
What is difficult pores and skin aka hyperkeratosis?
Areas of laborious skincare attributable to a buildup of extra useless pores and skin cells which have change into compacted and thick. Some types of laborious pores and skin are restricted fully to the useless pores and skin cell layer of the dermis, which is named the stratum corneum. Others additionally contain thickening of the residing epidermal layer of squamous and basal cells which might be then lined by extreme hardened and thick useless cells. That is essential to grasp in relation to your expectations for eliminating laborious pores and skin. It is simpler to do away with the stratum corneum useless cells than it’s to melt and do away with thickened cells within the residing squamous and basal cell layers.
What are the 5 most typical causes of laborious pores and skin?
- The most typical instance of laborious pores and skin is a callus. A callus is a thickening of the useless cell stratum corneum layer.
- Warts can result in laborious pores and skin. These are as a consequence of a viral an infection of pores and skin from the human papillomavirus that additionally thickens the residing epidermal cell layer underneath the stratum corneum.
- Elbow and knee pores and skin can change into thick and darkish and has been described as frictional asymptomatic darkening of the extensor surfaces. It can run in households. The pores and skin of elbows and knees is at all times thicker however when the useless cell layer turns into excessively thickened and callused the pores and skin turns into laborious. Friction sometimes performs a job.
Seborrheic keratosis, a kind of age spots, are warty growths that may kind laborious crusty pores and skin. We do not know what causes these growths of laborious pores and skin however they’re structured like a wart with thickening of each the epidermal and stratum corneum useless cell layer. These growths are sometimes brown and scaly.
- Prurigo nodules, additionally known as picker’s nodules, are areas of laborious pores and skin as a consequence of long run scratching of a small space of pores and skin. These nodules change into intensely itchy, resulting in extra scratching and extra laborious pores and skin buildup. Prurigo nodules contain a thickening of each the dermis and useless cell layer and are sometimes a brawny reddish shade.
What are the forms of laborious pores and skin on the ft?
The bottoms of your ft are notably vulnerable to develop laborious pores and skin. This may occur from callouses secondary to repetitive rubbing in opposition to your sneakers, thick heels from each friction and pores and skin getting older, corns and warts.
1. Calluses on the ft
Exhausting pores and skin from foot callus might be protecting and assist forestall a friction blister. Once they get too giant, they change into painful and crack. The big toe and the ball of the foot are notably vulnerable to painful frictional calluses.
2. Thickened heel pores and skin
The pores and skin in your heels can change into laborious and thick, resulting in cracks and painful fissures. It occurs from each friction and the getting older course of. Ladies after menopause are notably susceptible and the situation presently of life is named keratoderma climactericum.
3. Plantar warts
Warts are one other kind of laborious pores and skin that generally occur on the ft. These are attributable to a viral an infection of the pores and skin and might be contagious to different areas of your sole. The wart virus is named the human papillomavirus and there are over 100 varieties so far. Warts on the soles (and palms) are known as palmoplantar warts. They’re attributable to a small subset of the big human papillomavirus household.
4. Exhausting and gentle corns
Corns are a type of laborious pores and skin on the foot that occurs from weight bearing in opposition to a bony defect. You change into extra vulnerable to corns with age because the bones in your ft shift into new positions, typically aggravated by poorly becoming footwear that put irregular strain on the pores and skin. Corns sometimes kind on the ball of the foot, the highest of the toes. Once they kind between the toes, the pores and skin is sweatier and moist making the corn softer. These corns are known as ‘gentle corns’. Tender corns are nonetheless painful. The laborious pores and skin of all corns in the end grows inward to kind a ‘corn’ that jabs into your foot and that may be very painful.
Why is it essential to take away laborious pores and skin?
Exhausting pores and skin can construct as much as the purpose the place it’s painful. Your pores and skin cannot preserve this thickened hyperkeratosis gentle and the laborious pores and skin is vulnerable to crack, fissure and even change into contaminated. Placing strain on laborious pores and skin often hurts, whether or not it’s a wart, callus or corn.
Methods to do away with laborious pores and skin?
It is essential to melt and exfoliate the useless pores and skin cells of laborious pores and skin to stop cracking and discomfort. This needs to be achieved regularly as soon as the laborious pores and skin has constructed up. The strategy used relies on the trigger and placement of the laborious pores and skin.
To assist the useless pores and skin cells to slough, we use skincare merchandise with keratolytic components to melt and put together the pores and skin for exfoliation. Keratolytics are components that break aside the connections between the useless cells in order that they will shed naturally. The method might be sped up with bodily exfoliation utilizing both a bathe fabric or sponge, or a pumice or file, relying on the situation of the issue.
Keratolytic components for laborious pores and skin
Probably the most generally used keratolytics in dermatology embody salicylic acid (a BHA), glycolic acid and lactic acid (AHAs). Medical grade AHA and BHA merchandise are the very best house treatment merchandise for eliminating laborious pores and skin. Salicylic acid is usually what’s utilized in wart and corn remedy merchandise. Glycolic acid is the very best keratolytic ingredient general to deal with laborious pores and skin as a result of it penetrates pores and skin properly and is a robust keratolytic. You may pace the method through the use of an exfoliating bathe sponge or fabric in your physique and/or pumice or foot file in your ft to scale back the buildup of useless cells.
The most effective house treatment for laborious pores and skin is to use a medical-grade glycolic acid cream after every bathtub or bathe and to exfoliate the pores and skin on the first signal of laborious pores and skin buildup. – Dermatologist Dr. Bailey
Methods to do away with laborious pores and skin in your ft
I depend upon the routine in my Soft and Smooth Feet Kit. I’ve mixed medical grade glycolic acid with a extremely nice pumice stone and a foot file. This package helps management calluses and tough cracked heels. My directions are as follows:
Step 1: First soak your foot in heat water for 10 minutes. Then gently rub the pumice stone over the areas of laborious pores and skin. Watch out to not exfoliate too deeply and injure the residing pores and skin beneath. Additionally, diabetics and other people with peripheral neuropathy ought to seek the advice of their doctor earlier than submitting areas just like the ft.
Step 2: Apply the Glycolic Acid Physique Lotion after submitting to proceed softening and treating the realm till the laborious pores and skin is managed. Cowl your ft with sox in order that your ft aren’t slippery.
Repeat this as wanted till your pores and skin is gentle and the laborious pores and skin is gone.
Methods to do away with laborious pores and skin in your arms, legs or physique
I mix the medical-grade Glycolic Acid Physique Lotion with exfoliation with a bathe fabric and an AHA/BHA pores and skin cleanser for laborious pores and skin on the physique. The routine is in my Ultra-Fast Body Smoothing Kit.
To deal with laborious pores and skin from warts, corns and cussed age spots, I like to recommend you see your physician.
Methods to do away with laborious pores and skin calluses in your fingers
Do not forget that calluses are protecting. Individuals who work and play laborious with their fingers typically get calluses to guard hand pores and skin from friction blisters as a consequence of repetitive use – assume musicians, carpenters, athletes and many others. You do not need to take away all the hand callus in the event you want it however you may management its dimension to assist preserve it from turning into painful.
My Dry Skin Hand Repair Kit comes with the very best hand lotion to melt hand pores and skin, Bag Balm and gloves for intensive nighttime pores and skin softening and the right finger file to exfoliate the callus and management its dimension. If wanted, you too can use the Glycolic Acid Physique Lotion after showers to harness its keratolytic properties for environment friendly callus exfoliation with the file.
How do you forestall laborious pores and skin?
Forestall laborious pores and skin by recurrently making use of a medical-grade glycolic acid cream after your bathtub or bathe. Use the cream the place you might be vulnerable to getting laborious pores and skin. All the time apply the cream inside 3 minutes after toweling pores and skin dry for finest outcomes. When moisturizing your ft, at all times put on sox to stop slipping! Exfoliate the realm as wanted to stop laborious pores and skin buildup.
The skincare routines in my two kits above are extremely efficient for eradicating laborious pores and skin on the physique and ft when used not less than twice per week.
On the times that you’re not utilizing the keratolytic and exfoliation skincare routine, I like to recommend utilizing lotions and ointments that include pores and skin softening components. These embody lanolin, urea and oils.
Pores and skin softening lotions for laborious pores and skin
Urea is a pores and skin softening ingredient that can be useful. In excessive concentrations (over 30%), reminiscent of wart and corn medicines, additionally it is a keratolytic.
Lanolin is one other nice ingredient to melt laborious pores and skin. Time-honored Bag Balm Ointment comprises lanolin and is superb to melt laborious pores and skin and forestall cracking. You will need to know that it’s attainable to develop an allergic skin rash to lanolin.
The botanical oils present in physique butters are glorious pores and skin softening components. My Pure Body Butter Cream is wealthy in avocado oil and shea butter to assist preserve pores and skin gentle and supple. It may be used from head to toe.
When do you’ll want to see a health care provider for laborious pores and skin?
See a health care provider if the laborious pores and skin received’t soften and resolve, if it fissures, and/or if it retains rising; pores and skin growths, together with pores and skin most cancers, can mimic laborious pores and skin from callouses, age spots, warts or prurigo nodules. Athlete’s foot, psoriasis and different treatable pores and skin rashes can even result in the event of laborious pores and skin. A health care provider may help make an accurate prognosis in case your laborious pores and skin fails to enhance. Corn and wart care is finest directed by your physician.
Al Aboud AM, Nigam PK. Wart. [Updated 2021 Aug 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Accessible from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK431047/
Yousef H, Alhajj M, Sharma S. Anatomy, Pores and skin (Integument), Dermis. [Updated 2021 Nov 19]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Accessible from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470464/
Piquero-Casals, J., Morgado-Carrasco, D., Granger, C. et al. Urea in Dermatology: A Evaluate of its Emollient, Moisturizing, Keratolytic, Pores and skin Barrier Enhancing and Antimicrobial Properties. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb) 11, 1905–1915 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13555-021-00611-y
Writer: Dr. Cynthia Bailey M.D. is a Board Licensed dermatologist training dermatology since 1987. She has achieved properly over 200,000 pores and skin exams throughout her profession and authors the longest operating doctor written pores and skin well being weblog on the planet.