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If you have actinic keratosis, or have only heard of it, then you may have some questions about this common skin condition. Though many people may have it or be at risk for developing it, actinic keratosis is not well known among the public. Continue reading for the answers to your questions about this dangerous skin condition.

What is actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis, sometimes known as solar keratosis or sun spots, is a precancerous skin lesion. It will often appear as a small, rough-feeling spot, possibly yellow or brown in color. It is a skin condition caused by too much sun exposure and sun damage.

Who is most at risk?

Anyone who is in the sun too often without protection can be at risk for developing actinic keratosis. However, fair-skinned people are the most susceptible to its development because of the minimal amount of melanin, or pigment, found in their skin. Melanin helps protect the skin from sun damage, and fair-skinned individuals have less melanin than darker-skinned people.

Where does it occur?

Since actinic keratosis is caused by sun damage, it often appears on areas of the body most exposed to the sun. Your scalp, face, and back of the neck are the most susceptible areas to actinic keratosis. You may also find it most on your chest, hands, and forearms, especially if you often left these areas unprotected in the sun.

What are the treatments?

It is very important that actinic keratosis be treated right away before it can become cancerous. Different treatments include topical chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs. In addition to these, your dermatologist may recommend cryosurgery or photodynamic therapy to remove the spots.

Don’t let signs of actinic keratosis turn into melanoma or carcinoma. Work with Arlington Dermatology to receive actinic keratosis treatment in Arlington Heights by calling us at 847-392-5440. Actinic keratosis can be a dangerous skin condition, if left untreated, so work with us on removing and preventing it from affecting your life.

woman applying sunscreen at the beach