Pitted Keratolysis Treatment At Home [Causes, Symptoms, Home Treatments!]

We review pitted keratolysis on the hands, the feet and is pitted keratolysis dangerous? We also show how to treat it!



What is Pitted Keratolysis?

  • Pitted keratolysis is a common but relatively benign skin condition that affects the soles of the feet and, less commonly, the palms of the hands. It is characterized by the formation of small, shallow pits or depressions on the affected areas of the skin.


  • The condition is primarily caused by the overgrowth of bacteria, particularly Corynebacterium species, which leads to the breakdown of the superficial layer of the skin.
  • The exact cause of pitted keratolysis is not fully understood, but several factors are believed to contribute to its development.
  • These factors include excessive sweating, warm and moist environments, prolonged occlusion of the feet (such as wearing closed shoes or boots for long periods), and poor hygiene.
  • People who frequently wear tight footwear or participate in activities that cause their feet to sweat excessively, such as athletes and soldiers, are more prone to developing pitted keratolysis.


  • The main symptom of pitted keratolysis is the presence of small pits or depressions in the affected areas.
  • These pits can vary in size and depth and are typically clustered together. Other common symptoms include an unpleasant odor (often described as “cheesy” or “sour”), whitish or grayish patches on the skin, and a soft and crumbly texture of the affected skin. The condition is usually painless, but some individuals may experience mild itching or discomfort.


  • To diagnose pitted keratolysis, a healthcare professional will typically examine the affected skin and inquire about the individual’s medical history and symptoms. In some cases, a skin scraping may be performed to confirm the presence of bacteria or to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, such as fungal infections.

Pitted Keratolysis Home Remedy Options:

Pitted Keratolysis Home Treatment:

Treatment for pitted keratolysis aims to eliminate or control the bacterial overgrowth and improve the affected skin’s condition. It typically involves a combination of self-care measures and medical interventions. Some common treatment options include:

  1. Good hygiene practices: Regularly washing and drying the feet or hands, especially after sweating or exposure to moist environments, can help reduce bacterial overgrowth.
  2. Antibacterial soaps or washes: Using antibacterial cleansers that contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or chlorhexidine can help eliminate the bacteria responsible for pitted keratolysis.
  3. Topical antibiotics: Applying topical antibiotics, such as erythromycin or clindamycin, directly to the affected areas can help control bacterial overgrowth.
  4. Aluminum chloride solutions: Applying aluminum chloride hexahydrate solutions can help reduce sweating and create an unfavorable environment for bacteria.
  5. Footwear modifications: Wearing open-toed shoes or sandals, allowing the feet to breathe, and avoiding tight or occlusive footwear can help prevent the recurrence of pitted keratolysis.
  6. Absorbent foot powders: Using foot powders containing ingredients like talc or zinc oxide can help absorb excess moisture and reduce bacterial growth.

It’s important to note that while these treatments can be effective, pitted keratolysis has a tendency to recur. Therefore, maintaining good foot hygiene and taking preventive measures, such as wearing breathable footwear and using absorbent powders, can help minimize the risk of recurrence.

If you suspect you have pitted keratolysis or have any concerns about your skin condition, it’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


Podiatrist Treatment:

In addition to the treatments mentioned earlier, there have been studies exploring alternative treatment options for pitted keratolysis. Here are a few additional treatments that have been investigated:

  1. Topical antimicrobial agents: Various topical antimicrobial agents have been studied for their effectiveness in treating pitted keratolysis. These include mupirocin, fusidic acid, and clindamycin. A study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology in 2016 found that a combination of mupirocin and fusidic acid cream was highly effective in treating pitted keratolysis, with a cure rate of 93% among the study participants.
  2. Botulinum toxin injections: Botulinum toxin injections, commonly used for cosmetic purposes, have been explored as a treatment option for pitted keratolysis. Botulinum toxin helps reduce sweating by blocking the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in sweat production. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2016 reported successful treatment of pitted keratolysis using botulinum toxin injections, with significant improvement in symptoms and decreased bacterial count.
  3. Oral antibiotics: In cases of severe or recurrent pitted keratolysis, oral antibiotics may be prescribed. Studies have shown that oral antibiotics such as erythromycin, tetracycline, and doxycycline can effectively control the bacterial overgrowth associated with the condition. However, the use of oral antibiotics is generally reserved for more severe cases or when topical treatments have failed.
  4. Photodynamic therapy (PDT): PDT involves the application of a photosensitizing agent followed by exposure to light, which activates the agent and destroys bacteria. A study published in Dermatologic Therapy in 2015 reported successful treatment of pitted keratolysis using PDT. The study found that PDT resulted in a significant reduction in the number of pits and improvement in symptoms.

It’s worth noting that while these treatment options have shown promise in studies, more research is needed to establish their effectiveness and determine the optimal treatment approach for pitted keratolysis. The choice of treatment may vary depending on the severity of the condition, individual patient factors, and the preferences of the healthcare provider.