Actinic Keratosis

Integrated Dermatology of Clinton

Dermatologists located in Clinton, CT

Actinic keratosis is the most common type of precancer and if left untreated, it can lead to a serious cancerous condition. If you have actinic keratosis or are displaying symptoms of the condition, schedule an examination at Integrated Dermatology of Clinton right away. You can conveniently book your actinic keratosis evaluation with the board-certified dermatologists at this Clinton, Connecticut, practice either online or over the phone.

Actinic Keratosis Q & A

What causes actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis (AK), also known as solar keratosis, are small, darkened, precancerous lesions that develop when your skin is badly damaged by ultraviolet (UV) rays. Not only does frequent sun exposure increase your risk of developing actinic keratosis, so do regular tanning bed sessions.

Although anyone of any age can develop actinic keratosis, the following factors can increase your risk:

  • Fair skin
  • Blonde or red hair
  • Weakened immune system
  • Green, blue, or hazel eyes
  • Skin that freckles or burns in the sun

Actinic keratosis also develops most commonly in adults over 40, especially if you live in sunny environments, such as Southern California or Florida.

What are the symptoms of actinic keratosis?

It’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of actinic keratosis because if they’re left untreated, they can eventually turn into skin cancer. Actinic keratosis usually forms on your face, scalp, and backs of your hands, although you can have AKs on any sun-exposed areas. You may notice lesions that are:

  • Horn-shaped
  • Dry and scaly
  • Burning or itching
  • Rough to the touch
  • Pink, red, white, or brown

What’s unique about actinic keratosis is that lesions can come and go. You may notice that AK patches stick around for months, then eventually flake off and disappear before returning weeks later. The expert skin care team at Integrated Dermatology of Clinton perform comprehensive skin checks, so they can talk with you about the best course of treatment for your actinic keratosis.

How is actinic keratosis treated?

Treating actinic keratosis depends on the severity of your condition and your overall risk of developing skin cancer. Your dedicated dermatologist at Integrated Dermatology of Clinton may recommend:

  • Freezing therapy (cryotherapy)
  • Electrosurgery (curettage)
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Laser treatments
  • Chemical peels

There are also a wide variety of topical creams your dermatologist can prescribe to treat actinic keratosis. You might need chemotherapy cream (5-fluorouracil cream), diclofenac sodium gel, or creams to boost your immune system to get rid of the damaged cells. In many cases, your actinic keratosis treatment plan from Integrated Dermatology of Clinton incorporates multiple types of treatments in an effort to lower your risk of skin cancer.

If you have actinic keratosis, see how the team at Integrated Dermatology of Clinton can help. Book your exam online, or call the office to schedule.