Those scaly, tan and red patches on your face. Don't ignore them.
What is actinic keratosis?
Actinic keratosis are a very common condition. However, they are considered precancerous lesions. These are scaly, tan or red patches which occur on the sun-exposed areas of the skin (i.e. scalp, face, chest, back, arms, and back of hands). They occur when skin cells, also known as keratinocytes, start to grow abnormally. They are confined to the top layer of the skin, known as the epidermis.
Although these lesions are not cancerous, if left untreated, they may develop into skin cancer (in fact, some experts consider actinic keratosis to be an early form of squamous cell carcinoma). Actinic keratosis can be effectively treated with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) in the office. In some cases, other treatments may be indicated
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. Also, a history of sunburns over your lifetime may predispose you to the development of actinic keratosis.
How are actinic keratosis treated?
Actinic keratosis can be effectively treated with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) in the office. Persistent and/or recurrent actinic keratosis, or actinic keratosis that 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. Warn your children about the dangers of the sun. Encourage your children to wear sunscreens. Examine your skin on a periodic basis for any changes. See your doctor promptly if suspicious lesions appear.