ACTINIC KERATOSIS

What is an actinic keratosis?
An actinic keratosis (AK) is a precancerous skin growth, also known as a sun spot, that may progress to a skin cancer. The growths which start as small, scaly plaques on the skin's surface are often described to flake-off and return. Actinic keratoses are most commonly found on areas of sun exposure, such as the face, ears, lips, neck, bald scalp, hands, shoulders, arms and upper back.

What causes actinic keratoses?
Actinic keratoses are directly related to cumulative sun exposure. Those with pale complexions, especially blonde or red hair, and blue, green, or gray eyes, because they have the least amount of protective pigment, are at the greatest risk. However, those with more pigment, including individuals of color, can develop actinic keratoses if they expose themselves to the sun without protection. When left untreated, an AK may increase in size and develop into a form of skin cancer.

Are actinic keratoses treatable?
There are a number of effective therapies for treating actinic keratoses. Dr. Weiss and his team will determine the best therapy for you based on the nature of the lesion and your overall health. Treatments include topical agents, liquid nitrogen, a variety of surgical options and photodynamic therapy (PDT).