Treatment For Actinic Keratosis
Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery offers effective actinic keratosis treatment customized for your unique needs. We also provide an array of treatments for other skin conditions, including melanoma, and other skin cancer types. Our Gainesville dermatologists provide the highest level of patient care in a state-of-the-art facility. Early detection and treatment are the best tools in your arsenal when it comes to skin conditions. Contact our office today to schedule a dermatologist appointment and to learn more about our available skin care treatments.
What Is Actinic Keratosis?
Actinic keratosis (AK), also known as solar keratosis, is one of the most common types of precancer found on the skin and usually appears as a rough, scaly patch. This condition forms due to long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. Because of this, if a patient has one actinic keratosis, they are likely to develop additional actinic keratoses, which may appear on the face, ears, lips, scalp, neck, forearms, and back of the hands. If left untreated, this condition could develop into the dangerous skin cancer squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
What Causes Actinic Keratosis?
Frequent or intense exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning beds causes actinic keratosis. Because of the length of time required for actinic keratosis to form, it usually only appears in individuals over 40-years old. Additionally, having a light complexion or red or blonde hair can increase your chances of developing actinic keratosis. If you live in a sunny location, work outdoors, tend to burn or freckle easily, or have a weakened immune system, your risks are also increased.
Actinic Keratosis Symptoms
As we age, skin conditions become more frequent, and it's important to know what warrants a trip to a dermatologist. Knowing the following signs of actinic keratosis can help you catch the condition early before it has a chance to develop into squamous cell carcinoma.
- Rough, dry, or scaly patch of skin, typically less than 1-inch diameter in size.
- Flat or slightly raised patch or bump on the skin.
- Hard, wart-like patch on the skin.
- Patch of skin that is pink, red, or brown.
- Patch of skin that itches, burns, crusts, or bleeds.
Actinic Keratosis VS Seborrheic Keratosis
Seborrheic keratosis is another common type of skin condition developing as people age. It is often confused with actinic keratosis due to its appearance and location on body areas often exposed to the sun. Like actinic keratosis, seborrheic keratosis can vary in texture, color, and size, and can appear in clusters or as a single spot. However, unlike actinic keratosis, seborrheic keratosis will not develop into skin cancer.
Because it can be difficult to self-diagnose cancerous versus non-cancerous skin conditions, it's always best to seek the counsel of a certified dermatologist, especially if the condition is new, worsens, grows, or bleeds.