What is Actinic Keratosis?

Actinic keratosis is a medical condition that causes dry, scaly, rough patches to grow on the skin. While the condition can occur nearly anywhere on the body, it is most commonly found on the neck, scalp, face, ears, hands and arms. Actinic keratosis initially starts as an extremely small patch of rough skin with no other symptoms. These patches will start to slowly grow over the years, and they can even become cancerous if you are not careful.

Actinic keratosis is caused by too much exposure to the dangerous UV rays of the sun. You may also develop this condition from constant use of a tanning booth. In addition to dry patches on the skin, you may also notice raised bumps, itching, burning and discolored skin in the areas affected by actinic keratosis. Since it is extremely hard to notice when these patches start to become cancerous, you should visit our office every time you notice changes in the appearance of your skin.

Since it takes years of sun exposure to develop the skin patches, actinic keratosis usually only occurs in older adults. People with pale skin, red hair and blue eyes are also more likely to develop this condition because they tend to burn easier when exposed to sunlight. Avoiding extended sun exposure is the best way to guarantee that you do not develop this skin condition. If you have to go out in the sun, then you need to make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen. Wearing clothing that covers up the skin is also a great way to reduce your risk of developing the condition.

Treating actinic keratosis as soon as possible is the best way to make sure that it does not develop into skin cancer. Our specialist will usually be able to diagnose your actinic keratosis by looking at your skin, but they may also need to take a skin biopsy to remove any doubts. Minor cases of this condition will go away on their own, but they are likely to return the next time you get too much sun.

It is usually recommended to have all skin patches and lesions removed to guarantee that you do not get skin cancer in the future. If you have a large number of patches, then you may be prescribed a skin cream or gel. Applying this medication directly on your skin patches should gradually remove them over time.

If you only have a few actinic keratosis skin patches, then they will likely be individually removed. Liquid nitrogen may be applied to the skin patches using cryotherapy. It all depends on your unique situation. Schedule an appointment at Rao Dermatology to talk to our specialists about how your actinic keratosis can be treated. We have locations in Fresno, Hanford, Woodbridge, Atlantic Highlands and Manhattan. Contact us today to book your consultation.

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