Actinic Keratoses Treatment
Over time, intense sun exposure can lead to a multitude of skin complications. Sometimes they’re merely cosmetic, causing premature aging or skin discoloration. Other times, they’re potentially medically serious. Actinic keratosis, a slow-growing skin lesion that typically affects the face, neck, hands, and arms, poses considerable risks if left unaddressed.
The medical team at IDI helps patients identify and treat skin abnormalities. If you have noticed a skin lesion or concerning discoloration, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with our team of caring experts.
What is Actinic Keratosis?
Actinic keratosis is a skin condition triggered by years of heavy exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from either the sun or tanning beds. It tends to erupt in people past their 40s, though it can appear earlier in patients with very light skin who live in extremely sunny regions.
The lesions can take several forms. Very often they are wart-like growths with a scaly, crusted cap or scab. They can also be dark brown and similar in color and appearance to a mole. The condition can also appear on the lips as either persistent dryness and cracking that doesn’t soften, or white patches.
Actinic keratosis growths are typically uncomfortable and can produce a burning, itchy, sensation. The growths can appear in clusters and occasionally bleed.
Patients suffering from actinic keratosis can sometimes mistake the growths for acne, so they might not seek treatment immediately. Because the condition is known as a precancerous growth – between 5 and 10 percent of cases progress to squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer – early detection and treatment are critical. If you notice any skin abnormalities, please seek an evaluation immediately.
Your doctor can identify actinic keratosis through a visual skin examination. However, additional tests, such as a skin biopsy, will be performed to check for malignancy.
Lesions are typically removed, either through topical medicated creams or gels, dermatological processes, or surgical procedures. These might include:
- Ablative laser resurfacing. This treatment uses high-intensity, moderately invasive light to remove the outer layers of skin.
- This is the administration of liquid nitrogen to freeze the growths, effectively killing the cells and causing them to peel away.
- The surgical application of an electromagnetic current to the affected area. This destroys the growth, which is then removed by a tool called a curet.
The most appropriate treatment will depend upon several factors, including your age, overall health, and the severity of the condition.
At IDI, we take pride in providing state-of-the-art treatments for a multitude of skin disorders and giving patients the information and support they need to manage and overcome their conditions efficiently. To book an appointment with our expert team, please contact us today.