Actinic Keratosis - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment For Actinic Keratosis - Solar keratosis
Alternative names :: Solar keratosis, Sun-induced skin changes - keratosis, Keratosis - actinic (solar)
What is Actinic keratosis ?
Actinic keratosis is a skin condition characterized by rough, scaly patches on the skin of your face, lips, ears, back of your hands, forearms, scalp and neck. It's caused by frequent or intense exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, typically from the sun. Actinic Keratos are also known as "solar keratoses". An actinic keratosis is a scaly or crusty bump that forms on the skin surface. Dermatologists call them "AK's" for short. They range in size from as small as a pinhead to an inch across. They may be light or dark, tan, pink, red, a combination of these, or the same color as ones skin. The scale or crust is horn-like, dry, and rough, and is often recognized easier by touch rather than sight.
Microscopically, actinic keratoses show varying degrees of microscopic epidermal atypia and abnormal maturation, clinically manifested by keratotic and scaly lesions. Actinic keratoses are mainly due to long-term exposure to the sun in susceptible persons and may progress to squamous cell carcinoma. The presence of actinic keratoses indicates that sun damage has occurred and that any kind of skin cancer -- not just squamous cell carcinoma can develop. People with actinic keratosis are more likely to develop melanoma also. Sun exposure is the cause of almost all actinic keratoses.
What are the causes of Actinic Keratosis ?
Actinic keratoses are the most common premalignant lesions. The persons with fair skin, especially those who sunburn easily and tan poorly as well as those whose occupations or hobbies result in excessive sun exposure, are at increased risk of developing actinic keratoses. The growths occur in sun-exposed skin areas. Even those who are darker-skinned can develop keratosis if they heavily expose themselves to the sun without protection. The growths begin as flat, scaly areas that later develop a hard wart-like surface.
Symptoms of Actinic Keratosis
Some of the common symptoms of Actinic Keratosis includes :-
Treatment for Actinic Keratosis
Actinic keratoses represent precancerous changes, have them examined promptly, and follow the health care provider's advice for treatment. There are a number of effective treatments for eradicating actinic keratoses. Not all keratoses need to be removed. The decision on whether and how to treat is based on the nature of the lesion, age, and health. Some of the common treatment for Actinic Keratosis are :-
Prevention tips for Actinic Keratosis
Actinic Keratosis may be prevented by protecting skin from ultraviolet radiation. Sun protection is vital for all fair skinned people working or enjoying themselves outdoors. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen on exposed skin every day. Apply sunscreen at least half an hour before exposure, and reapply frequently.
Wear protective clothing such as hats, long-sleeved shirts, long skirts, or pants. Ultraviolet light is most intense midday, so try to avoid exposure during these hours.
Diagnostic tests for Actinic Keratosis
Actinic keratoses can generally be diagnosed clinically, but biopsy may be indicated to verify diagnosis or exclude underlying malignancies. Biopsy sections show varying degrees of epidermal atypia and abnormal maturation of actinic keratinocytes.
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