Actinic keratosis is a skin condition that develops after the skin has had continued, prolonged sun exposure. It primarily affects the face, lips, ears, back of your hands, forearms, scalp, and neck. The condition develops slowly, and the only symptom is a rough, scaly patch of skin at the infected site. Actinic keratosis can be diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist. If left untreated, the condition can develop into skin cancer. Here are some common treatment options for actinic keratosis.
One of the first treatment options that your dermatologist will recommend is a topical medication. This medication may be used on its own, or in combination with another dermatological therapy. There are a number of different topical medications available for treatment, and they can be highly effective at preventing or destroying the development of cancerous and precancerous cells.
If your dermatologist recommends photodynamic therapy, he will apply a topical, light-sensitive agent to the affected skin. The skin will then be exposed to a very strong red or blue light, which destroys cancerous and precancerous cells. After this procedure, your skin may be red, swollen, and painful. You will have to avoid sun exposure for at least 48 hours to ensure that you don’t suffer from an intense sunburn.
Chemical peels are often offered by dermatologists to remove superficial actinic keratosis symptoms from the face. This procedure is purely cosmetic dermatology, as it will not kill any cancerous or precancerous cells. Your dermatologist will apply chemicals directly to your face, causing the top layers of the skin to burn off. New, healthy skin will then regrow in its place. This treatment procedure requires local anesthesia, and the recovery period can be substantial, but it is almost always successful.
At Arlington Dermatology, we have been diagnosing and treating skin conditions for over 40 years. Our experienced dermatologists can provide actinic keratosis treatment in Arlington Heights that includes medical, laser, and cosmetic dermatology procedures. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call us today at 847-392-5440.