What is Kava Dermopathy (Kanikani)?

Kava has become an increasingly popular health and wellness supplement in recent years. Commonly lauded for its ability to relax the mind and promote restful sleep, traditional forms of consumption have been combined with modern production methods like encapsulation and concentrated tincture extraction.

However, some users have reported that this high potency can come with an unexpected side effect - a distinct discoloration or scaly rash known as "kava dermopathy." In this post, we will be exploring what exactly causes kava dermopathy, how it manifests in those suffering, and ways to prevent or mitigate related symptoms.

What Is Kava Dermopathy (Kanikani)?

Kava Dermopathy (Kanikani) is an eruption on the skin caused by kava, a plant mainly found in parts of the Pacific Ocean region. Symptoms typically manifest as red or brown scaly patches that often appear on the face, chest, and back.

Although kava dermopathy is not always severe and may go away on its own over time, it could be indicative of a hypersensitivity reaction to kava, so consulting a medical doctor is advised if symptoms persist. In some cases, kava will need to be discontinued to prevent further outbreaks.

Related Link: Kava for Anxiety Guide: Benefits & Dosage

Who Suffers from Kava Dermopathy?

Although kava dermopathy was traditionally found exclusively in kava-consuming cultures near Oceania, its prevalence has increased around the world due to kava's growing popularity.

Most people who suffer from this condition are regular kava users who claim to have taken extreme amounts of it for extended periods. Anyone who frequently consumes it and develops patches on their skin should seek medical advice, as kava dermopathy is a severe medical concern that could potentially have long-term effects if left untreated.

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Why Does Kava Dermopathy Occur?

This condition can affect anyone who consumes kava, but why it occurs is not well understood. Research suggests that kava dermopathy can be caused by interference with the body's cholesterol metabolism, defective cytochrome P450 isoenzymes, an accumulation of flavopigments or kavalactones in the body, or allergic systemic contact dermatitis- all of which are related either to kava consumption or kava-induced metabolic disturbances.

More research needs to be conducted to understand better how kavalactones interact with our bodies so preventative treatments for kava-related skin disorders can be developed.

How Is Kava Dermopathy Diagnosis Performed?

To diagnose kava dermopathy, a doctor will start by reviewing the patient's medical history, as kava use and diet can be essential for identifying the presence of kava dermopathy. The doctor then moves on to physical examination, paying particular attention to potentially affected areas such as the arms, neck, and legs. Depending on the severity, kava dermopathy can present with a broad spectrum of skin manifestations varying from slight discoloration to severe scaly lesions.

To ensure accurate diagnosis, laboratory tests such as skin biopsy are often necessary. Some of these tests may require the removal of a small sample of surface skin and its imaging in a specialty lab. In some cases, doctors may also order chemical analyses with specific components during their diagnosis process, which helps them determine whether kava is causing kava dermopathy or other unrelated conditions.

Related Link: Kratom vs Kava: What's the Difference?

Symptoms of Kava Dermopathy (Kanikani)

Generally, it causes the skin in certain body areas to seem more wrinkled and pigmented than normal. In more severe cases, kava dermopathy can lead to scaly patches on the skin. Aside from this physical manifestation of kava dermopathy, some people may experience itching or burning in the affected areas of their skin.

Patients with kava dermopathy may also suffer more generalized symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, muscular and joint pain, and ongoing fatigue. For those who believe they may be suffering from kava dermopathy, it is crucial to seek medical advice as soon as possible.

How Is Kava Dermopathy (Kanikani) Treated?

Treatment for kava dermopathy primarily focuses on reducing consumption of kava and managing the symptoms associated with it. In mild cases, topical creams and lotions containing keratolytic and urea are prescribed to relieve the itching and encourage the healing of affected skin areas.

Patients undergoing treatment are also encouraged to reduce their exposure to sunlight while recovering. Although this condition is relatively rare in kava consumers, this potential side effect should not be taken lightly since it may indicate underlying liver damage or metabolic issues due to kava consumption.

Can Kava Dermopathy (Kanikani) Be Prevented?

There are certain measures which can be taken to help prevent the risk of developing Kava Dermopathy. The most important thing for those who use kava is to make sure that only high quality roots are obtained and tested for adulterants.

Additionally, all products should be consumed with caution and moderation; decreasing their intake or taking breaks from its use may also help prevent the condition. While prevention may not guarantee protection, following these tips can reduce the chances significantly.

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Recovering from Kava Dermopathy

So, what is kava dermopathy? It is a rare skin condition that has been linked to the use of kava. It is characterized by brown patches on the skin and it can be treated by reducing consumption. If you are experiencing any skin problems after using kava, be sure to consult with your doctor.

At Shot of Joy, we want you to have a positive experience with our products, so please check out our website for more information about how to try kava safely and responsibly.

Related Link: How to Drink Kava Tea: 5 Tips

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