Actinic keratosis is a skin disorder where crusty, rough patches appear on the skin due to years of sun exposure, which can also be the first presentation of skin cancer. Actinic keratosis mostly presents in patients over the age of 40, but can also occur in younger patients who live in a sunny environment year round. At the beginning of actinic keratosis, the bumps may be so small that you may only become aware of them by touch rather than visibly seeing the bumps on your skin.
The signs and symptoms of actinic keratosis include:
- Lesions: the lesions that occur on the patient’s skin can be skin-colored, reddish-brown, or even a yellowish-tan pigment.
- Bumps on the skin: These are often rough textured, elevated bumps on the skin that resemble warts.
Once diagnosed, actinic keratosis can be treated with a variety of treatments and procedures, including:
- Cryosurgery: Similar to wart removal, we apply liquid nitrogen to the actinic keratosis to freeze the tissue. Later, the lesions and bumps around the frozen skin will either blister or become crusted then naturally fall off.
- Laser surgery: In this procedure, we use an intense light to attack and vaporize the actinic keratosis.
- Chemical peel: With this treatment, we apply a trichloroacetic acid or similar chemical solution to the face or affected area, causing the top layers of the skin to peel off to remove the superficial actinic keratosis.
Though the vast majority of actinic keratosis cases are benign, this skin disorder is caused by overexposure to the elements and sun damage. Sun-damaged skin is more prone to develop other kinds of skin disorders or skin cancers, which is why sun protection and sunscreen is so important to incorporate into your daily routine.
For more information on actinic keratosis or to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us today at (907) 865-8455.