How to identify and treat actinic keratosis (AK)
Actinic keratoses are skin patches that can become cancerous if not treated. They are caused by sun exposure or tanning beds and most often appear on the face, lips, ears, back of the hands, forearms, scalp, and neck. They are rough to the touch and may be red or brown. They may sting or itch or feel tender to the touch. They typically range in size from 2-6 millimeters in diameter. The body may treat AKs similarly to calluses as they may become thicker over time.
Actinic keratosis symptoms
If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should see a dermatologist immediately:
– a growth that looks like a pimple but does not go away for several weeks
– a lesion that gets bigger over time and does not heal
– a sore that does not heal after several weeks
– a sore with irregular borders
– warts with irregular borders or color changes (usually pink)
– spots that are bumpy, scaly, dry, or red/brown in color
An actinic keratosis, is a small patch of thick, scaly or crusty skin. These growths are more common in people with fair skin, especially those who freckle or sunburn easily. They develop on areas that have had long-term exposure to the sun.
Actinic keratoses are considered precancerous and can become squamous cell carcinoma if left untreated.
How common are actinic keratoses? Actinic keratoses are the most common precancerous skin lesions in the United States; up to 58 million Americans have at least one.
What causes actinic keratoses? Sun exposure is the number one cause of actinic keratoses, which is why they tend to show up on parts of the body frequently exposed to sunlight: head, hands, forearms and lower legs. They are also caused by repeated exposure to industrial chemicals and arsenic, a poisoning found in pesticides and some herbicides.
What do actinic keratoses look like? Actinic keratoses usually appear as rough, scaly, red or pink spots that range in size from a pinpoint to about an inch (2 centimeters). The spots may itch or burn, and sometimes they become tender or bleed. What makes them
Actinic keratosis (AK) is a pre-cancerous skin growth. It develops on areas of the skin that have been damaged by repeated and prolonged sun exposure. The damaged skin cells can develop into cancer if not treated.
The risk factors for AK include:
Repeated overexposure to the sun
A family history of AK or skin cancer
Fair complexion and freckling
A weakened immune system that may come with organ transplantation, chemotherapy, or HIV infection.
Some of the earliest warning signs of AK include:
Rough, scaly patches on the skin that are red or pink in color
Patches that are white or tan and appear waxy, flat, or thickened
Patches that look like small scars or dents in the skin
Patches that itch or cause a burning sensation when touched
When I was 27 years old, I was diagnosed with an actinic keratosis. I thought it was just a regular rash. My dermatologist told me it was from sun damage and could become cancerous if not treated. He said he would freeze it off to prevent future problems.
Actinic keratosis is a skin condition that forms due to too much exposure to the sun. These growths are typically found on the face, lips, ears, forearms, back of the hands and scalp. Many people mistake them for moles or age spots. If you have this condition, it means that your skin has sustained damage from the sun over time. Actinic keratosis manifests as dry and scaly patches on the skin that can range in color from skin-toned to red or pink.
If you notice any changes to your skin that seem abnormal, visit a dermatologist immediately. Treatment options include freezing with liquid nitrogen or applying creams such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) or ingenol mebutate. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove lesions from actinic keratosis.
The best way to prevent this condition is by wearing sunscreen every day and avoiding extended periods in the sun.
Actinic keratosis is the most common skin condition. It is characterized by rough, scaly patches on the skin. These patches start out as pink or red lesions that can develop into a cancerous growth if left untreated. The areas of the body most affected by this condition include the face, bald scalp, neck, hands and forearms.
One of the biggest dangers of actinic keratosis is that it can progress to squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma occurs when abnormal cells develop in the upper layers of your skin. This cancer can spread to other tissues and organs throughout your body if left untreated.
Although actinic keratosis is not life threatening, it can be extremely uncomfortable. Some patients have reported irritation or itching in affected areas. Others have said they experience pain or tenderness in these spots.
There are many different ways to treat this common skin condition. Treatment options range from prescription creams to cryosurgery and photodynamic therapy (PDT). Your doctor will determine which treatment option is best for you based on your individual case and medical history.
Actinic keratoses are small, rough spots on the skin that range in color from brown to pink. These spots appear in areas which have been exposed to excessive sun exposure and can sometimes become cancerous. These lesions are typically found on the face, ears, scalp, lips, neck, forearms and back of hands. There are several treatment options such as cryotherapy and topical creams that can be used to get rid of actinic keratoses. It is important to visit your doctor if you notice any changes in the size or shape of these lesions because they could be a sign of something more serious than just a simple skin condition.
Actinic Keratosis Treatment Options:
Cryotherapy is one of the most effective treatments for actinic keratoses because it works by freezing off the lesions with liquid nitrogen. This treatment option may be performed in your dermatologist’s office during an appointment or you may purchase an over-the-counter topical cream such as Efudex (fluorouracil).
Topical creams containing 5% fluorouracil help to kill surface cancer cells by preventing DNA synthesis and cell division but it does not treat deeper layers of skin where other types of cells live like normal melanocytes or basal cells; therefore
Actinic keratoses (AKs) are precancerous skin growths that develop when the skin receives too much sun exposure. These lesions look like dry, scaly patches or raised bumps and range in color from white to reddish brown. They’re also known as solar keratoses.
While AKs aren’t cancerous, they could turn into squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. That’s why it’s important to treat them before they get worse.
But you shouldn’t worry about AKs turning into cancer. It happens only rarely — only about 1-2% of all cases of actinic keratosis progress to squamous cell cancer.