What is actinic keratoses?
Actinic keratoses (AKs) are rough, dry, scaly patches of skin that result from excessive sun exposure. Also known as solar keratoses, these patches are the result of UV rays from the sun or indoor tanning beds. Most people develop more than one AK, and if that is the case for you, we recommend that you request an appointment with one of our dermatologists today. AKs are considered precancerous, although if they are left untreated, actinic keratoses may turn into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.
What are the causes?
When ultraviolet (UV) rays hit our skin, they cause damage. When we’re young, our bodies are able to repair some of the damage. But as we age, that damage will accumulate, and it becomes harder and harder for the body to repair itself. If UV rays continue to hit sun-damaged skin, AKs may develop. Actinic keratoses tend to develop in people with:
- Significant sun exposure or a history of high sun exposure
- A weakened immune system
- Fair skin
They usually appear after the age of 40, but can appear much earlier if you have had more sun exposure over the years, get a lot of sunlight, or used tanning beds and sun lamps.
How can I prevent AKs?
Once sun damage has progressed to the point where AKs develop, new keratoses may appear even without further sun exposure. The best and most effective way to prevent new AKs is with sun protection and avoidance. Using sunscreen, hats and clothing are essential in preventing new lesions and future skin cancer. There are topical treatment strategies that can be tailored to your skin in order to help prevent AKs as well.
How are actinic keratoses treated?
Actinic keratoses are pre-cancerous lesions caused by accumulated sun exposure over the course of years. They are commonly and effectively treated with cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen. This is an in-office procedure performed at Skin Wellness Center in Pinellas Park, Florida. Prescription topical medications, such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) cream and Imiquimod cream, can be used to treat your AKs at home. These medications can treat many lesions at a time and also act preventatively.
Request treatments in Pinellas Park, Florida
To schedule treatments for your AKs at Skin Wellness Center, request an appointment online or call (727) 545-3376 to schedule directly with a board-certified dermatologist. During your initial appointment, we will assess your keratoses and determine the most effective treatment plan for you. Keep your skin safe and healthy; contact us today!