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Keratin is the hard, waterproof protein that forms the outermost layer of our skin. It is also this hair and our nails are made of that form the horns and hooves of animals. ‘Derma’ refers to the skin. Keratoderma is a collective term for any thickening keratin layer in your skin.

Why do you get keratin

There are a number of conditions and diseases that can cause this and it can occur on different parts of the body.

Usually, however, it is found on the feet and it is most often due to bad shoes, work or sports that over time have led to a lot of pressure in a particular place. To protect the foot, thicker skin forms and a hardcore may appear in the middle. This nucleus can be experienced as a thorn sticking into the subcutaneous tissue and being painful. It is often called corns.


You can get a compress or local ointment that can help soften the area and prevent more pressure on the area if possible until it is healed. It is also possible to gently brush, scrape or cut off the hard skin. Here it is important not to do it so deep that you start to bleed, or get infections due to equipment that is not disinfected.

If you are unable to treat the hard skin yourself and it is persistently bothersome or painful, you should consult a doctor.

General Practitioner

At Dr.Dropin our experienced GPs provide a wide range of primary care services, similar to those provided by the NHS, either in the clinic or through video consultations.


At Dr.Dropin, you will receive specialist care from our expert Consultant Dermatologists provided by skindoc. With extensive experience from both public and private hospitals, we can assess and treat most chronic and acute skin disorders – either in the clinic, through video, or via a photo upload service.