Actinic keratosis (AK) is the most common kind of pre-cancer that develops on skin damaged by long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or indoor tanning. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the common cause of actinic keratosis Santa Barbara. This puts you at a higher risk for skin cancer because AKs can develop into squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a prevalent and sometimes invasive form of the disease.
The symptoms of actinic keratosis
Actinic keratosis develops slowly and most commonly arises on parts of the skin that are often exposed to sunlight. These can include your ears, face, neck, bald scalp, backs of forearms and hands, and lips. It usually lies flat against the head and neck skin, although it can be seen as a hump on the arms and hands.
An actinic keratosis’s base might be light or dark, tan, pink, red, or a mix of these colors. Also, the crust or scale may be dry, horny, and harsh. In certain circumstances, it may itch or feel prickly or painful. Often, an individual will have more than one actinic keratosis lesion.
How long does actinic keratosis take to clear up?
Actinic keratoses (AKs) might take up to three months to disappear once treatment ceases, depending on their size and quantity. After the AKs have gone completely, you will need to see your doctor once or twice a year for a checkup. If you have a weaker immune system that puts you at risk for AKs, you need to visit your dermatologist four to six times a year.
How to prevent actinic keratosis
The best strategy to prevent actinic keratosis is to avoid prolonged UV exposure. You may protect your skin by doing the following:
- Applying sunscreen daily, even in cloudy weather or during winter, and frequently reapplying — at least every two hours. Utilize a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 sun protection factors (SPF) that block UVA and UVB light.
- Avoid tanning salons, tanning beds, and sun lamps.
- Avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when UV is most intense.
- Wearing sun-protective clothing, like long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
The outlook for those with actinic keratosis
The majority of actinic keratoses (AKs) resolve with therapy. Skin cancer does not affect around 90% of patients with actinic keratosis. However, the majority of squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis began as AKs. If you suspect you have an AK, it is important to see your healthcare professional immediately.
Actinic keratosis is a severe skin condition that necessitates rapid treatment. The majority of AKs resolve with surgical or topical therapy. You may reduce your chances of developing actinic keratosis by shielding your skin from the sun and UV rays.
If you suspect you have AK, see your doctor regarding diagnosis and treatment. The sooner you seek medical attention for actinic keratosis, the less likely you are to have skin cancer. Call LUX Dermatology to schedule your meeting today to find out if you are the ideal candidate for actinic keratosis therapies.