Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis services offered in Mesa, Tempe and Scottsdale, AZ

Actinic Keratosis

Skin cancer is one of the United States’ most common cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute, and actinic keratosis serves as a warning sign for many types. At Skin Care Specialists in Mesa, Tempe, and Scottsdale, Arizona, a team of board-certified dermatologists specializes in the early detection, diagnosis, and comprehensive treatment of actinic keratosis. Call today or request an appointment online to learn more.

Actinic Keratosis Q&A

What is actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis is a precancerous condition that causes red, scaly, rough patches of skin to form in sun-exposed areas. These lesions typically grow slowly but can turn into cancer if left untreated. With a team of board-certified dermatologists, they diagnose and treat actinic keratosis using various methods tailored to your needs.

What does actinic keratosis look like?

Actinic keratosis typically looks like an inflamed patch of skin. It may appear scaly, rough, or dry in texture. You may be able to feel actinic keratosis before you see it. The patches can develop anywhere on your body, but they tend to be most common in areas exposed to sunlight, including the scalp, face, ears, backs of the hands, and neck.

An actinic keratosis can even burn or itch, but many show no symptoms. That’s why a comprehensive skin cancer screening is essential to diagnose and treat actinic keratosis.

Does actinic keratosis always turn into cancer?

While only a small percentage of actinic keratoses turn into squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, early detection and timely intervention are crucial in preventing the progression of these precancerous lesions. The longer you wait to treat the condition, the more likely actinic keratosis is to become cancerous.

What causes actinic keratosis?

Years of sun exposure is the primary cause of actinic keratosis, but certain factors can increase your risk of developing these lesions, including:

  • Fair skin
  • Age (being older)
  • Indoor tanning beds
  • Geographic location (living in sunnier areas)
  • Weakened immune system
  • Genetics (having a family history of skin cancer)

Protecting yourself against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays is the simplest way to prevent actinic keratosis. The expert team at Skin Care Specialists recommends using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing (wide-brimmed hats, long sleeves, etc.), and remaining in shaded areas.

Can actinic keratosis go away on its own?

Actinic keratosis can resolve spontaneously, but without intervention, it’s more common for these lesions to persist or recur. If the lesion develops into skin cancer, it can spread to other areas. The board-certified dermatologists at Skin Care Specialists recommend seeking treatment at the first signs of actinic keratosis. Treatments may include:

  • Cryotherapy (freezing)
  • Topical medications
  • Excision
  • Photodynamic therapy

After a thorough skin cancer screening, the team can recommend the appropriate treatment for you. Call Skin Care Specialists today or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment.