Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis (AK) are typically found on sun-damaged skin. They are also known as solar keratosis and as the name implies, they are due to long term sun damage. They are usually multiple but can start as a single scaly red patch on skin. Actinic keratosis are considered precancerous as a small proportion of them can change into a type of skin cancer called Squamous Cell Carcinoma or SCC. As they are due to sun damage they are typically found on sun exposed areas such as the face, lips, ears, bald scalp, shoulders, neck and back of the hands and forearms. They can range from very small to up to a few centimeters in diameter. They can also appear as crusty and bumpy horn like lesions.

Prevention is always better than cure hence avoiding prolonged sun exposure and using sunscreen will usually confer adequate protection from the harmful effects of UV rays from the Sun. Sun protection should start from early childhood as the problems due to sun exposure are the result of long term sun damage. Different types of treatments are available for Actinic keratosis. The treatments range from freezing like the treatment used for warts, to use of topical creams and light therapy.

As they are produced due to sun damage, people with Actinic keratosis are at risk of other types of skin cancers. Hence prevention is key. Prevention is avoiding sun damage by covering up and using a sun screen.

Sunscreen

Always carry sunscreen with you

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