What is actinic keratosis, and how is it treated?

Knowing what to look for when spotting signs on the body and face is critical to ensuring the early and effective diagnosis of conditions such as skin cancer. Some patients who might believe they have skin cancer might actually be dealing with a condition known as actinic keratosis instead. Dr. Sanjay Siddha and his team at Clear Skin Dermatology educate patients on actinic keratosis so they know what to look for and when to seek the assistance of a New Market or Toronto, Ontario dermatologist.

What is actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis, sometimes referred to by the acronym “AK,” as a common skin condition typically characterized by rough, scaly patches or lesions on the skin. These patches are caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet, or UV, light from either the sun or tanning beds. Actinic keratosis is also referred to medically as solar keratosis or “sunspots,” it usually appears on areas of the skin that are susceptible to sun exposure. Without treatment, actinic keratosis can develop into a variety of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma.

Who is at risk of developing an actinic keratosis on the skin?

Although anyone can develop actinic keratosis, it is more commonly seen in fair-skinned individuals who have spent extensive time in the sun. People with weakened immune systems and those over the age of 40 are also at higher risk for developing this condition and should be vigilant about seeing a dermatologist on an annual basis to screen for this and other skin cancer concerns.

What are the symptoms of actinic keratosis?

The most common symptoms seen with this condition include:

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  • Small, rough, or scaly patches on the skin
  • Red, pink, or brown spots that may be flat or elevated
  • Lesions that may feel itchy or tender to the touch
  • Rough and crusty bumps on the skin that may bleed when scratched

How does a dermatologist treat actinic keratosis?

After diagnosing actinic keratosis, Dr. Siddha will determine the best treatment plan for each patient. Treatment options vary depending on the severity and location of the lesions, as well as the patient’s overall health. Common treatments vary and include cryotherapy, chemical peels, topical medications, photodynamic therapy, and surgical interventions such as curettage and excision.

Do you suspect that you have actinic keratosis?

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and believe that you might have AK, it is critical that you schedule an appointment with our providers at Clear Skin Dermatology for a skin cancer screening. Dr. Sanjay Siddha and his team can evaluate your skin, get a proper diagnosis, and discuss possible treatment options for your needs. Call (437) 524-0489 to connect with our Toronto, ON office, or (905) 508-2710 to connect with our New Market, ON office. We proudly serve our patients in and around the communities of Enniskillen, Bradford, Aurora, Davisville Village, Addington, Aurora, Richmond Hill, St. Lawrence, and King City, ON.