Actinic keratosis: Know about causes, symptoms, and treatment
Also called solar keratosis, actinic keratosis is a precancer type that causes rough and scaly patches on the skin. Commonly found on the lips, face, scalp, forearms, ears, back of the hands, or neck, this condition develops from years of sun exposure. The skin patches may enlarge slowly and this condition has the risk of becoming cancerous if precautions are not taken early.
What is actinic keratosis?
Actinic keratosis is a serious skin disorder that usually grows slowly and commonly first appears in people aged over 40. Without proper treatment, they can turn into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.
Know about the symptoms
Actinic keratosis varies in appearance in different people. The first signs of the condition are usually rough, raised bumps on the skin. These bumps may be pink, red, or gray and often have a brown or yellow crust on top. Some common symptoms include itching, burning, bleeding or crusting, dry scaly lips, hornlike skin growths that stick out, and pain or tenderness.
Causes and risk factors
The most common cause of actinic keratosis is frequent exposure to UV rays from the sun. Exposure to indoor tanning equipment like tanning beds can also damage the outer layers of the skin cells. You have an increased risk of developing the condition if you work outdoors, have a weak immune system, and have red or blonde hair and blue or light-colored eyes.
Treatment for the condition
Your dermatologist will detect the condition after conducting a skin biopsy. To treat the condition, your doctor can use chemical peel treatment which will offer you a healthy skin layer over time. They may also use cryotherapy to freeze and peel off the skin growths. Excision and photodynamic therapy are also common medical treatments available to treat the condition and improve your skin texture.
Here are a few preventions
Avoid being out in the sun for too long to prevent sunburn or suntan. Avoid being outside between 10 am-2 pm during the summer season. Always apply a water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 30 on exposed skin. Reapply every two hours. Also, use a lip balm with sunscreen. Wear tightly-woven clothes covering your arms and legs before heading out in the sun.