Our Actinic Keratosis Treatment
What is Actinic Keratosis?
Actinic keratosis (plural, keratoses) is a small, rough, precancerous growth of sun-damaged skin. Also caused by repeated use of tanning beds over a long period of time, actinic keratoses usually appear on adults older than 40 who have had sustained exposure to the sun’s ultra-violet (UV) rays. Actinic keratoses are concerning because if left untreated, some of them can develop into skin cancer. Typically once an individual actinic keratosis appears, others will follow, putting you at a higher risk.
What causes Actinic Keratosis?
The biggest risk factor for actinic keratoses is cumulative build-up of UV damage to the skin, i.e., too much exposure to UV radiation over a long period of time. That’s why people over 40 years of age are most affected. However, the incidence of actinic keratoses continues to rise among younger sun-damaged populations as well. People with fair skin and those who live in hotter, sunnier places also carry more risk, as do males in general and balding males in particular. Increased sensitivity to UV radiation caused by other skin conditions can also make you susceptible to actinic keratosis.
How is Actinic Keratosis treated?
Since AKs are hard to identify, it’s important to have any areas of concern checked out. If our providers discover one or more actinic keratosis lesions on your skin, they may recommend an in-office procedure and periodic treatment to reduce risk of skin cancer. Treatment for AKs may include:
- Chemical peels to remove the top layer of unhealthy skin
- Laser skin resurfacing to remove the outermost layer of skin and destroy AK cells
- Curettage to remove visible AKs surgically
- Photodynamic therapy that uses a special solution and light to destroy unhealthy skin cells
- Topical prescription medications and creams to slowly eliminate AKs
Areas of actinic keratosis often clear with treatment, so it’s important to address them before they become skin cancer.
Placer Dermatology specializes in the treatment and removal of actinic keratosis and has a multitude of products and solutions to create an effective, individualized plan for you.