What is Actinic Keratosis?
Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Do Not Ignore Scaly, Sun Damaged Skin
We frequently encounter patients with sun-damaged skin who present to us with scaly spots, known medically as actinic keratoses. These are not the typically encountered discolorations that occur as part of the normal aging process. If you have one or more actinic keratosis areas, you should come in for a consultation right away. These spots may be considered precancerous (cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma) and in most cases are removed as soon as possible. Do not ignore skin with this appearance. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of actinic keratosis so that treatment can begin as soon as possible.
Biopsy and Removal of Actinic Keratoses on the Scalp, Hands, and Face
Actinic keratoses typically appear on areas that receive excessive sun exposure, such as the scalp, forehead, face, and the backs of the hands. Their appearance may vary from a flat or thickened plaque or papule, to a red pigmented or skin colored spot, or even a whitish or yellowish surface that appears warty or scaly. The areas may be sensitive or completely asymptomatic. If you suspect that any area of your skin is abnormal, let us know. We will perform a careful examination and present you with a clinical diagnosis and treatment options, as applicable. A biopsy or removal may be indicated to help prevent affected areas from developing into cancerous lesions. The presence of actinic keratoses may warrant a physical examination for additional signs of precancerous or cancerous lesions.
Driver, Outdoor Worker, Fair Skin, or Sun Worshipper? Examine Your Skin
Although anyone can get actinic keratoses, those who “worship the sun,” who work outside most of the time, or vacation in the tropics are most commonly afflicted. Some of the factors that predispose an individual to developing this precancerous condition include: fair skin, significant sunburn history, several areas of photo-aged skin, inadequate immune system, and employment outdoors/driving. Those who spend long hours outside should be careful to always apply a broad spectrum sunscreen (50+) as directed and carefully examine the skin on a regular basis. Following treatment for actinic keratosis, regular monitoring of the skin is recommended. The condition is known to recur.
Contact Henry D. McKinney Skin Care Center if you have any skin-related concerns. We offer professional treatment of actinic keratosis. Call: (814) 944-7109.