Keratin is the tough, waterproof protein that forms the outermost layer of your skin. (It’s also what your hair and nails are made of, and animal horns and hoofs as well.) ‘Derma’ refers to your skin. Keratoderma is a blanket term for any kind of thickening of your skin’s keratin layer.
There are scores of conditions and diseases that can cause this, and it can happen in different places on your body.
Usually, though, it’s on your feet, and that’s usually because your shoes are bothering you. People who get this often speak of getting ‘skin corns.’ They call it that because the keratin layer is called the ‘stratum corneum’, or the ‘cornified layer’.
Corns can be a little sore. Your pharmacy can offer you pads to wear, and a topical treatment to help them dissolve. (It’s salicylic acid – aspirin, basically.) You can sand them down a bit, with a pumice stone.
And you can change your shoes, and wear better socks.
If there’s anything that worries you about your thickened skin, or if this doesn’t sound like what you have, show your doctor.
Questions about your skin? Ask our dermatologists online for $35.