Actinic keratosis - What it is, Symptoms and Treatmentswhich many are unaware of.In additionActinic keratosisusually appears as a reddish, rough lesion often found on the face, ears,lips, on the backs of the hands, forearms, shoulders, neck and scalp of bald people or other areas of the body exposed to the sun. The lesions are usually small and can be multiple. Usually, they are more palpable than visible and we can see them by gently passing our hands in the areas exposed to the sun and feeling some rough spots to the touch.
What is Actinic Keratosis:Actinic keratoses are rough, scaly, or dry patches or lesions that develop on parts of the body exposed to the sun. These blemishes or lesions are precancerous and if left untreated there is a small risk of developing into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma..
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What are the Symptoms of Actinic Keratosis:AnActinic keratosis("Keratoses") may appear as a scaly, raised or rough area of the skin. The keratosis can be pink, red or brown; Sometimes it is the same color as normal skin, but appears rough or dry to the touch. They are easier to feel than to see.
AtActinic keratosisare more likely to develop in parts of the body that get more exposure to the sun, such as the face, ears, neck, hands and forearms. Fighting or breaking the lips, especially the lower lip, after exposure to the sun can also be a sign ofActinic keratosis..
What causes Actinic Keratosis:The main cause ofActinic keratosisActinic is excessive sunlight (natural sunlight or artificial light, such as a tanning bed). Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays in sunlight causes chemical changes in known as keratinocytes, which represent 90 percent of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). These keratinocytes undergo changes in size, shape, and organization..
Who Is at Risk for Actinic Keratosis:The following groups are at greatest risk of developingActinic keratosis:
- People with light or clear complexion
- People with blonde or red hair
- People with blue or green eyes
- People whose immune system is weakened by disease or immunotherapy
- Middle aged and older people whose skin was damaged by years of sun exposure
THEActinic keratosisis very common and occurs in millions of Americans. The number of cases is growing because people are unable to take adequate measures to protect themselves from sun exposure..
How Actinic Keratosis is Diagnosed:People who are at risk for any type of skin disorder should check their skin regularly. You should contact your doctor if you notice any persistent blemishes or stains with unusual color, texture, shape or size. Other relative signs are pimples that do not heal and nothing that bleeds easily. Your doctor may perform a skin biopsy by removing some or all of the growth to determine if cancer cells are present.
How to Treat Actinic Keratosis:In most cases, theActinic keratosiscan be treated and cured. The result is more favorable if the condition is detected during the initial stages. Treatment options include the following:
- Topical lotions or creams (applied directly to the skin)
- Cryosurgery (freezing)
- Electrosurgery (use of an electric current)
- Dermabrasion (the skin is frozen and then a specialized instrument is used to "aerate" the skin)
- Laser resurfacing
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT). PDT uses a cream applied to the skin and a special light to destroy pre-cancerous skin cells.
- The type of treatment depends on the location, number, size and severity of the lesions. A combination of methods can be used in some cases.
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How can you preventActinic Keratosis: The best way to preventActinic keratosisis to reduce your exposure to the sun, especially during peak hours when sunlight is most intense. Here are some methods:.
- Wear long-sleeved sweaters, pants, and a hat to protect areas of skin that may be exposed to the sun.
- Apply a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more for at least 30 minutes before going outdoors. A broad spectrum sunscreen
- is recommended to protect theskinof ultraviolet A and B.
- Avoid trying to get a tan by staying out of the sun or using tanning beds;
- Use auto-tanning products instead.
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