ACTINIC KERATOSES (AKs)
Actinic Keratoses (AKs) are common precancerous growths that form when the skin is badly damaged by UV radiation from the sun or tanning device.
The most common areas excessively exposed to the sun are the face, scalp, lower lip and the backs of hands. Anyone who has many AKs should be seen by a dermatologist for treatment and skin cancer monitoring. If left untreated, AKs have the potential to turn into a type of skin cancer called Squamous Cell Carcinoma, which requires surgery for treatment.
A few symptoms to watch for are:
If you see any of these signs on your own skin, you should see a dermatologist. People who have AKs also have a higher risk of getting skin cancer. By seeing a dermatologist for regular checkups, the AKs can be treated before they become cancerous.
There are many treatments for AKs. Some treatments can be performed in the office by your dermatologist, while other treatments can be done at home. The goal of treatment is to destroy the AKs and replace them with normal, healthy skin. Some patients may receive more than one type of treatment. Treatments for AKs include:
Your dermatologist may prescribe a medicine that you can use at home to treat AKs. Medicines that dermatologists prescribe include: