Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis is a type of precancerous skin growth that should not be ignored. It is a result from over sun exposure, and it appears as a dry, scaly or crusty spot on the surface of the skin. Actinic keratosis can be a tiny spot on the skin (as small as a pin point), or it can be more than an inch in diameter. When someone sees a spot of any kind that looks different or mysterious, it should be checked out by a dermatologist right away. As with any medical condition, the sooner treatment that may be needed is started the sooner it will begin to work and treat the problem.

While actinic keratosis spots may vary in color – from tan, brown, red, pink, or skin-colored – they most often occur on the skin above the shoulders. The facial areas, including the ears, a bald head, and the back of the neck are the most common places where spots develop. That is because they are typically receiving more sun exposure than the rest of the body. Even in winter when the rest of the body is covered in layers, the face is generally exposed to the sun’s damaging rays. It is always important to wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect the skin from skin damage.

Almost 15% of actinic keratosis develops into squamous cell skin cancers. These spots need prompt removal in order to promote the health of a person. These spots can develop into serious skin cancer if not properly treated; therefore it is important for a dermatologist to treat the affected area. When treated at the first sign, actinic keratosis can generally be effectively removed.

Posted on behalf of Medical Dermatology Specialists