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Actinic Keratosis


An actinic keratosis is a scaly or crusty bump which develops on the skin surface. Actinic keratosis (AK), also called as solar keratosis, is the result of continous exposure to sunlight. It is a small crusty, scaly or crumbly bump or horn which forms on the skin surface. Anyone who arises AKs has extensive sun-damaged skin. This makes one more credulous to other forms of skin cancer, including melanoma. It is most common in fair-skinned people who are normally exposed to the sun, as their pigment isn't very protective. It usually is consorted by solar damage.

AKs develops on fair-skinned people in areas of prolonged sun exposure, such as the face, ears, bald scalp, forearms, and backs of the hands. Although, they may occur on any area that is continously exposed to the sun, such as the back, the chest, and the legs. Actinic keratoses frequently measure in size between 2 to 6 millimeters in diameter (between the size of a pencil point to that of an eraser). They are usually reddish in color and normally have a white scale on top.

People with dark skin luckily get actinic keratosis. In rare examples, actinic keratoses can bleed. They may be light or dark, tan, pink, red, a mixture of these, or the same color as ones skin. The scale or crust is horn-like, dry, and rough, and is often sanctioned easier by touch rather than sight. When such a lesion arises on the lip, dermatologists call the condition "actinic cheilitis".

Left uncured, about one in 10 cases of actinic keratoses develop into squamous cell carcinoma, a serious form of skin cancer. They commonly form on the head, neck, or hands but can be found on other areas of the body. Generally more than one is present. Actinic keratosis may appear as early as 30 years of age in impressible people who spend a lot of time outdoors. Actinic keratoses are precancerous (premalignant), that means they can develop into skin cancer.

Causes of Actinic Keratosis

The common reasons and risk factor's of Actinic Keratosis include the following:

  • A history of frequent or severe sun exposure or sunburn.
  • People with dark skin rarely get actinic keratosis.
  • A weak immune system as a result of chemotherapy, AIDS or an organ transplant.
  • Pale skin.
  • AKs occur more repeatedly in fair, redheaded, or blonde patients who burn consistently and tan poorly.
  • Actinic keratosis can also appear from exposure to cancer-causing substances (carcinogenic elements) such as arsenic, X-ray radiation.

Symptoms of Actinic Keratosis

Some symptoms associated to Actinic Keratosis are as follows:

  • Coarse and dry textured skin lesion.
  • Flat to slenderly raised, scaly patches on the top layer of your skin.
  • Itch, burn, or sting.
  • Be surrounded by red, irritated skin.
  • Mild sunburn causes pain and redness on sun-exposed skin.

Treatment of Actinic Keratosis

Here is list of the methods for treating Actinic Keratosis:

  • Growths may also be cured with medications which cause skin peeling or removal. More currently, lasers and other light sources have been used to treat actinic keratoses.
  • Some topical medications have fluorouracil, a chemotherapy drug. The medication eradicates actinic keratosis cells by blocking essential reactions within them.
  • Freezing AKs with liquid nitrogen usually causes them to morass off and go away.
  • Imiquimod cream (Aldara), a medication that has latter-day been approved for treating actinic keratosis. The cream affects the body's response to sun exposure, helping to prevent the formation of keratoses.
  • Retinoids: One drug in this class - the oral drug isotretinoin - is useful in preventing actinic keratosis.
  • Different forms of surgery.