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ACTINIC KERATOSIS

Actinic Keratosis also is known as solar keratoses, are rough patches of skin caused by damage from years of sun exposure. AK is considered a pre-cancer because if left alone, it could develop into skin cancer. Most often, actinic keratoses develop slowly and reach a size from an eighth to a quarter of an inch. Early on, they may disappear only to reappear later. Occasionally they itch or produce a pricking or tender sensation. They can also become inflamed and surrounded by redness. In rare instances, AKs can even bleed.

Causes:

Actinic Keratosis (AK) is primarily caused by long-term exposure to sunlight. You have a higher risk of developing this condition if you:

Are over age 60

Have light-colored skin and blue eyes

Have a tendency to sunburn easily

Have a history of sunburns earlier in life

Have been frequently exposed to the sun over your lifetime

Have the human papillomavirus (HPV)

Treatments:

  • Cryotherapy: Using the power of Nitrogen to freeze off the AK. This is generally used when the AK is in its initial phase, where it’s small and easily accessible.

  • Radio Frequency Cautery: This is an advanced way of physical removal of AK using modern surgical methods that cut without scarring or bleeding.

  • ALA/PDT: Aminolevulinic acid is a light-activated effective substance. Which is applied to the affected area and absorbed by the overactive (Pre-cancer) cells? Once under a blue light source, the substance is activated effectively killing the target cells while keeping surrounding cells intact. This leaves the skin without any scarring. It may require a second session after several months.

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