Do You Have Rough, Scaly Spots on Your Skin? They Are Called Actinic Keratosis
What is Actinic Keratosis (AK)?
- Actinic Keratosis is pre-cancerous skin condition that is caused by long term exposure to UV rays from the sun or from tanning beds. As expected, it most commonly develops on areas of skin exposed to the sun such as the arms, legs, neck, scalp and ears.
- This excessive exposure to the sun causes damage to the skin cells overtime.
What is the general appearance of Actinic Keratosis?
Actinic Keratosis presents differently depending on the person. Some common presentations include:
- Rough patches of skin that may feel like sandpaper
- Scaly bumps on the skin that may resemble pimples
- Patches on the skin that are rough and red or pink
- May resemble age spots
How is Actinic Keratosis diagnosed?
Generally, a dermatologist can diagnose Actinic Keratosis by examining the skin. Dr. Simona Bartos, a double board-certified dermatologist and fellowship trained dermoscopist can quickly and accurately diagnose and treat AKs.
Can Actinic Keratosis be treated?
Firstly, the treatment depends on the severity of the Actinic Keratosis as well as other factors such as previous skin cancer, the number of AK spots and the location of the spots.
In general, topical treatment and cryotherapy (freezing) are the main 2 treatment methods:
- Topical: creams, lotions and topical solutions are aimed at to remove the spots. Fluorouracil and Imiquimod are often used.
- Cryotherapy: This involves projecting liquid nitrogen onto each spot in order to freeze and kill the pre-cancerous cells.
Dr. Simona Bartos at Imperial Dermatology in Hollywood Florida is an expert in the treatment of AKs.
What can I do to prevent myself from developing Actinic Keratosis?
- Since Actinic Keratosis is caused by direct exposure to sunlight, using sunscreen and covering up in the sun can help limit the risk of developing Actinic Keratosis.
- It is also important to avoid tanning beds and to do routine skin checks in order to catch changes on the skin.
What happens if I ignore them?
- If ignored, some AKs will develop into squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer that can spread to other organs and be harmful. This makes early detection and treatment crucial for your well-being.
- Dr. Simona Bartos at Imperial Dermatology in Hollywood Florida is an expert in the treatment of skin cancers (Basal cell carcinoma BCC, squamous cell carcinoma BCC, melanoma). She performs excisions as well as Mohs surgery in her office-based operating rooms. This ensures the best care and comfort for you as a patient.
Give us a call for an evaluation if you have any concerns at all!
And remember, get your early skin check with Dr. Simona Bartos, a double board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained dermoscopist!