Actinic Keratosis

Get Treatment for Actinic Keratosis in Central Texas

Learn About Actinic Keratosis From Tru-Skin Dermatology

In Texas, much of the population is exposed to the direct sun most of the year, leading to a skin condition called actinic keratosis. Tru-Skin Dermatology has been treating actinic keratosis in patients at our seven locations throughout Central Texas to reduce the risk of it leading to skin cancer. If you think you have the early signs of actinic keratosis or any other skin condition, contact us for an appointment today.

What Is Actinic Keratosis?

Actinic keratosis, also known as solar keratosis, is a pre-cancerous condition that causes slow growing, pink to red dry scaly patches that usually first appears after age 40 due to sun damage. It most commonly occurs on sun-exposed areas such as the face, lips, ears, neck, and back of the hands. If left untreated, actinic keratoses can develop into squamous cell carcinoma skin cancer.

Risks and Causes

Anyone can develop pre-cancerous actinic keratoses. Exposure often starts at an early age, before adulthood, but the condition doesn’t appear until later in life, after years of exposure. You are at increased risk if you:

  • Live in a sunny place
  • Work outdoors
  • Have a history of many sunburns or frequent sun exposure
  • Tanning bed use
  • Have fair skin or tend to freckle or burn when exposed to sunlight
  • Have blonde or red hair, or light-colored eyes
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Are over 40 years old

What Are the Symptoms of Actinic Keratosis?

Actinic keratoses can vary in appearance based on how well developed they are. Signs and symptoms can include:

  • Rough, dry, scaly patches of skin
  • Flat to slightly raised to hard, wart-like bumps on the surface of the skin
  • Itching, burning or bleeding lesions
  • Any of the above that appear on sun-exposed areas of the head, neck, back of the hands, or forearms

It can be difficult to distinguish between benign or pre-cancerous lesions and skin cancer. If you have any suspicious lesions, it’s best to be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Treating Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis is usually diagnosed by visually examining your skin. If you have already developed scaly, dry, rough patches on parts of the body, you can contact us for a free skin cancer screening to discuss treatment options. If there is any doubt of it progressing to skin cancer, a skin biopsy is performed in our office.

It’s difficult to tell which actinic keratoses will develop into skin cancer, so they are treated and removed as a precaution. Various treatments include:

  • Photodynamic therapy: where a chemical is applied to the skin and activated by a light source
  • Topical medications: such as 5-fluorouracil cream and immunomodulators
  • Cryotherapy: which involves liquid nitrogen to freeze the lesions. As your skin heals and sloughs off, new healthy skin will regenerate.

Benefits of Treating Actinic Keratosis

If left untreated, actinic keratoses can develop into squamous cell carcinoma skin cancer. Treating actinic keratosis prior to this is the best proactive approach to fighting skin cancer development. Other benefits of early treatment can reduce the appearance of the scaly skin condition and promote the healthy growth of new skin cells in its place.

Sun safety is necessary to help prevent development and recurrence of actinic keratoses. Protect your skin by using appropriate UV protection in the form of sunscreen, sunglasses, long sleeves, hats, and stay in the shade.

Schedule a Screening for Actinic Keratosis

If you’ve noticed changes in your skin resulting in scaly, rough patches of skin, contact Tru-Skin Dermatology to schedule a free skin cancer screening at any of our locations in Central Texas. These spots could be a sign of actinic keratosis, especially if you’re over the age of 40 and have a history of prolonged sun exposure. We have dermatology offices located in Austin, Bastrop, Bulverde/Spring Branch, Cedar Park, Hallettsville, La Grange, and Round Rock for convenient scheduling. Contact our office today.


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