Stucco Keratosis

What is stucco keratosis?
Stucco keratosis, also known as keratosis alba, are benign, unusual growths on the skin. Typically, it affects the lower extremities. In older individuals, stucco keratosis is especially common in the ankles. Usually asymptomatic, meaning it does not display symptoms even when a condition is present, and often it will go unrecognized. Men are 4 times more likely than women to be affected by stucco keratosis. It is usually first noticed after the age of 40.

At this time, the cause of stucco keratosis is unknown. Studies have shown that some types of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection are present in 20% of rapidly growing skin warts. Many affected patients have manifestations of sun damage; therefore, sun exposure has been proposed as a factor in the development of stucco keratosis; this feature may also be a reflection of the age of patients.

What are some features of this condition?

  • Gray-white elevations on the skin; however, pink and yellow shades have been noted
  • Lesions are stuck on and when scraped off there can be minimal bleeding
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Rippling appearance of the skin
  • Mild wart-like growths
  • Usually there are multiple lesions and may be in the hundreds
  • Lesions are usually small

Are there any treatments for stucco keratosis?
Currently, treatment of this condition is still lacking; however, experimental studies have used the following treatments in attempts to help combat this condition.

  • Topical 5% imiquimod cream - an immune response modifier and has been reported to be successful but only in few patients
  • Scraping the lesion - usually easy and minimal if any bleeding occurs
  • Cryotherapy - applying extreme cold to the site of the lesions
  • Electro-desiccation - drying the tissue using a high-frequency electric current applied with a needle-shaped electrode
  • Etretinate - a retinoid drug usually used to treat severe psoriasis

Usually individuals undergo treatment for cosmetic reasons; however, lesions that present symptoms may require removal. Although these treatments are available, your body might not necessarily respond to them.

​It is important to ask Dr. Cleaver what treatments are available for you.

Information gathered from British Journal of Dermatology 2000; 143: 846-850