Actinic Keratosis and how to deal with it

Cancer is one of the most feared illnesses due to its low chances of successful treatment. Thus it is advisable to get cancer screenings any time you can. Early detection of cancer gives you the best chance of beating it. Early diagnosis may involve detecting conditions that are precursors to cancerous infections. An example of such a condition is actinic keratosis Santa Barbara. More about this disease and how it can be managed is discussed below.

What is Actinic Keratosis?

This is a scaly, rugged patch on the skin that forms due to exposure to the sun. This is experienced on the lips, face, ears, scalp, forearms, neck, or back of your hands.

This condition grows gradually with its first appearance when people get over forty years. Decreasing the amount of time you stay in the sun, thus protecting your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays, may inhibit the condition.

If left untreated, there is a significant chance of actinic keratosis turning into cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

Different kinds of actinic keratoses exhibit various appearances. Some of them include:

  •         A flat or slightly lifted bump or patch on the upper layer of the skin
  •         Dry, rugged, or scaly skin patch less than an inch in diameter
  •         Different colors like red, pink, or brown
  •         A hard wartlike exterior
  •         New bumps or patches on areas exposed to the sun on the neck, head, forearms, and hands
  •         Burning, itching, crusting, or bleeding


Intense or frequent exposure to UV rays from tanning beds or the sun primarily causes actinic keratosis.

This infection can affect anyone, but various factors may increase the likelihood of their occurrence and are as follows:

  •         History of sunburn or a lot of sun exposure
  •         Have blond or red hair and light-colored or blue eyes
  •         Are you older than forty
  •         Tend to burn or freckle when in the sun
  •         Work outdoors
  •         Live in a sunny area
  •         Have a weak immune system

Some guidelines may include steps to help you protect yourself from the sun, which include:

  •         Use sunscreen
  •         Limit your time in the sun
  •         Avoid tanning beds
  •         Coverup
  •         Check your skin occasionally and report changes to your physician

Diagnosis and Treatment

An examination of your skin can be enough for your physician to diagnose actinic keratosis. Doubts are removed through tests like skin biopsy.

Actinic keratosis may dissipate on its own though more sun exposure might bring it back. They are removed as a precaution as it is hard to tell when or which types may develop into cancer.

Treatment may involve medications like:

  •         Imiquimod
  •         Fluorouracil
  •         Diclofenac

Some surgical methods for removing the infections include:

  •         Cryotherapy using liquid nitrogen
  •         Laser therapy
  •         Scraping
  •         Photodynamic therapy

Actinic keratosis may not physically affect you but may diminish your appearance while increasing the risk of contracting cancer. Any signs of actinic keratosis need to be checked out by a qualified physician. Check us out online or call our Santa Barbara, CA offices for any actinic keratosis inquiries.

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