What are Actinic Keratosis?
Actinic keratosis (AK's) are a very common skin condition. However, they are considered precancerous lesions. AK’s are scaly, tan or red patches and itching and burning can occur. The most common areas for AK's to occur are on the sun-exposed areas of the skin, such as scalp, face, chest, back, arms, and back of hands.
What causes Actinic Keratosis?
In general, they are caused by many years of exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. They are more common in fair-skinned people. Another factor is a history of sunburns over your lifetime may predispose you to the development of AK’s.
How are Actinic Keratosis treated?
Actinic keratosis can be effectively treated with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) in the office. Persistent and/or recurrent AK’s, or involve a large surface area of the skin, can be treated with a variety of topical chemotherapeutic agents.
What can you do to prevent Actinic Keratosis?
- Minimize your exposure to the sun
- Wear protective clothing
- Wear sunscreens
- Avoid tanning salons
- Encourage your children to wear sunscreens
- Examine your skin on a periodic basis for any changes
- See your doctor promptly if suspicious lesions appeal