Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratoses are pre-cancerous thin, scaly or rough non-healing areas on the skin. If left untreated actinic keratoses can progress to squamous cell carcinoma and less commonly basal cell carcinoma. Actinic Keratoses develop on sun exposed parts of the body such as the face, ears, scalp, back of the hands, and lower legs. People most at risk for developing actinic keratoses are those with a fair complexion, blue or green eyes, older that 40 years of age, history of significant sun exposure or tanning with UV light. Actinic keratoses are diagnoses by physical exam. Occasionally actinic keratoses are diagnosed with a skin biopsy.

Signs of AK's:


Actinic keratoses can be prevented by avoiding sun during peak hours 10am- 4pm, wearing sunscreen daily with repeat applications while outdoors, and/ or wearing protective clothing. Preventative skin exams are recommended to help diagnose and treat these areas.

Risk Factors for AK's:

Treatment Options:

Actinic keratoses can be treated with several modalities such as cryotherapy, topical chemotherapy medications, topical retinoids, chemical peels, ablative laser resurfacing, or photodynamic therapy

The key with actinic keratoses is to treat them before they progress into skin cancer. Destroying these precancerous cells early can help prevent the anxiety surrounding surgery or lengthy superficial radiation procedures, scars, pain, and reduce health care costs.

Schedule a Skin Cancer Screening

If you have concerns with the health of your skin or need further information on Skin Cancer types, treatment, or prevention, please feel welcome to call High Valley Dermatology.

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