About Actinic Keratosis
Actinic keratosis (AK) are scaly, rough lesions that develop on the skin in areas of high sun exposure, such as the face, ears, and scalp. Most often, affected regions will present with several lesions. As such, the plural of the skin condition is called actinic keratoses. The lesions grow progressively larger with time but can also vanish and reappear. They are often uncomfortable, itchy, and can become swollen. During a comprehensive skin evaluation, Rachel Day, M.D. at OneSkin Dermatology of Chambersburg, PA will examine the lesion, sometimes using dermoscopy. This is a precancerous skin ailment that may become cancerous if it isn't treated. Elimination of the lesion(s) will probably be suggested, but any available treatment will be discussed at your exam.
When this skin condition first arises, it might feel like a rough patch of your skin. Occasionally, this spot may itch and be inflamed. As time passes, particularly if it's exposed to sunlight, the patchy place will become reddish, scaly, raised, and swollen and will continue to spread. The further the AKs spread, the higher the odds of developing skin cancer. It's important for a specialist to examine these skin lesions as soon as possible so that therapy can be given and potential prevention methods can be put in place.
Prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent a single actinic keratosis (or multiple keratoses) from becoming cancer. The treatment option recommended will vary depending on factors, like your health and age, skin color, how prevalent the problem is, specific features of the lesion(s), area, etc. Frequently used treatment choices include:
- Cryosurgery: The use of liquid nitrogen to remove lesions
- Electrodesiccation & Curettage: A process that eliminates skin lesions by scratching the skin down to a healthy layer
- Medicines: Certain medicines can be useful in decreasing the look and size of lesions and decreasing the prevalence of scarring
- Chemical Peels: Chemical peels may eliminate the top layer of the affected skin, prompting new skin growth to replace the damaged tissues
Plan Your Service
Reverse Sun Damage
If you have lesions that you think may be linked to sunlight exposure and may be actinic keratoses, we recommend contacting our Chambersburg, PA clinic, OneSkin Dermatology, to arrange your appointment. Virtually all AKs can be removed if they are found and treated promptly. Dr. Day will provide a comprehensive evaluation of your skin and suggest the best possible recommendation for a wholesome, lasting result.