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What Causes Actinic Keratosis?

Jan 14, 2015

Actinic keratosis is a somewhat unusual skin condition because it is not inherently dangerous on its own, but it can progress into a deadly condition in some people if not treated. A small number of patients with actinic keratosis in Arlington Heights will develop a form of skin cancer from the actinic keratosis lesions. It can be difficult to distinguish these lesions from other lesions and rashes, which is why it is so important to always seek out a dermatologist when you notice any changes in your skin. Here’s a closer look at the causes of actinic keratosis.

UV Exposure

It is well known that excessive sun exposure can lead to early aging and skin cancer. In addition, nearly all cases of actinic keratosis are caused by a cumulative amount of excessive sun or UV exposure. Tanning bed use is considered by many experts and dermatologists to be even more hazardous than natural sun exposure, as it can be easy for people to underestimate the amount of UV exposure that occurs during tanning sessions.

Other Factors

There are occasional cases where actinic keratosis is caused by certain industrial chemicals or extremely frequent exposure to x-rays, but these are rare. Most people who develop actinic keratosis are above the age of 50 since the damage builds up over time, but there are cases where people in their early 20s have it. Patients with weakened immune systems are at a particularly high risk of developing actinic keratosis, as they are often more sensitive to the sun’s effects.

Your dermatologist can offer a number of effective treatments to address actinic keratosis before it can develop into a carcinoma. These may include topical medicated creams or gels, phototherapy, cryosurgery, laser surgery, chemical peels, or some combination of any of these. At Arlington Dermatology, we provide actinic keratosis treatments as a part of our general dermatology services. We also offer a number of cosmetic dermatology procedures and acne treatment services to help you look your best. Give us a call at [company-phone id=1] to learn more.

applying sunscreen