Actinic Keratosis Q & A
What is an actinic keratosis?
An actinic keratosis is a scaly spot of skin. If you have more than one, they’re called actinic keratoses. Actinic keratoses are precancerous, and they increase your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
The most common cause of actinic keratoses is sun exposure, but ultraviolet (UV) light from indoor tanning beds can also cause them to form. They’re most common in people over the age of 40. But younger people who use tanning beds or who live in sunny areas like Florida or California may develop them earlier in life.
Protecting your skin from UV exposure can help prevent the development of actinic keratoses and skin cancer. Wear sunscreen whenever you go outside, and limit sun exposure in the middle of the day.
What are the signs of actinic keratosis?
Actinic keratoses generally develop in areas of the body that are exposed to the sun, but not always. Common signs to look for include:
- A small patch of rough or scaly skin
- A raised bump on the skin
- A hard surface resembling a wart
- Red, pink, or brown color variations
- Itchy or burning skin
If you notice areas of irregular skin, visit the dermatologist. It’s impossible to identify cancerous growths from noncancerous ones without a clinical diagnosis.
How are actinic keratoses treated?
When you come to Pure Dermatology for a skin evaluation, the doctors perform a comprehensive exam. They may recommend a skin biopsy to determine if you have actinic keratosis or if it has progressed to skin cancer.
There are a number of treatment options available for actinic keratoses. The most common options are:
- Shave removal
The dermatology team takes the size, thickness, and the number of actinic keratoses you have into consideration when determining the best treatment for you. The goal of treatment is to remove all the damaged cells so that cancer doesn’t develop.
Treating actinic keratoses by removing them helps prevent the development of skin cancer later on. Trust the team at Pure Dermatology for the best in diagnosis and treatment. Call the office at 512-766-2610 or book online for your first appointment.