Even though there are many benefits from exposure to ultraviolet light from sunlight, exposure should be in moderation to limit potential sun damage. Sun damage to the skin can present itself in many forms, particularly skin cancer. However, many people are not familiar with actinic keratosis. Actinic keratosis is a pre-cancerous patch of skin that is rough or scaly, and in some cases crusty. It is caused by years of sun exposure. Since it is hard to tell whether or not an actinic keratosis will develop into skin cancer or melanoma, it is best to have it removed. Fortunately, since actinic keratosis is very common, there are many treatment options available. This article will take a closer look at some of these treatment options.
If you have actinic keratosis, your dermatologist can give you a prescription for topical medications. There are a number of different prescription topical creams or gels that can be applied to your skin to get rid of actinic keratosis. These medications are often used if actinic keratosis is widespread, since it can easily treat large areas of the body. With many people, these treatments can be used with minimal side effects and minimal scarring—if any.
Using exposure to certain frequencies of light, photodynamic therapy can be used to remove actinic keratosis. A photosensitizing agent is applied to the affected area and then exposed to a laser to destroy the damaged skin cells.
Surgery and Other Treatments
In cases of small actinic keratosis developments, a dermatologist may suggest individual removal through surgical removals. One of the more popular ways to treat actinic keratosis is with cryotherapy. With this method, liquid nitrogen is applied to the area. This will cause blistering and peeling of the skin, and as skin heals, the damaged skin cells will fall off and new, healthy skin will be exposed. Other methods include curettage, where a dermatologist will use special tools to scrape away actinic keratosis.
If you have actinic keratosis, you should visit a dermatologist in Arlington Heights to discuss treatment options. For actinic keratosis treatment or to learn more about melanoma or carcinoma, make an appointment with Arlington Dermatology by calling 847-392-5440.