If you have rough, scaly patches on sun-exposed areas of your skin, you may have actinic keratosis (AK). Actinic keratosis is a precancerous skin growth you should have evaluated by the team at Dermatology Associates of Western Pennsylvania in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. Board-certified dermatologists Michael Osofsky, MD, and Brian Pucevich, MD, and Saba Ali, MD, specialize in diagnosing and treating skin cancer, including precancerous actinic keratosis. Call the office or request your skin evaluation online today.
Actinic keratosis (AK) is a precancerous skin growth that can potentially transform into squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Repeated and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun causes AK. And when you have precancerous skin lesions, you’re at greater risk of developing more.
These skin growths usually appear on the face, lips, ears, arms, scalp, neck, and back of the hands.
Protecting your skin from the sun with clothing and sunscreen may lower your risk of developing AK. The team at Dermatology Associates of Western Pennsylvania also recommends you avoid the sun during peak sunlight hours (10am to 3pm) and use sunscreen everyday that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
Anytime you plan on spending the entire day outside in the sun, the dermatologists recommend you use sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher and wear protective clothing and a hat. You should also reapply your sunscreen every 90 minutes.
In most people, AK looks like a rough, dry patch of skin less than an inch in diameter. The skin growth may appear flat or raised and vary in color (pink, red, or brown).
Your actinic keratosis growth may also itch, burn, or bleed. Skin cancer is very common, and you should never ignore the appearance of new skin growths.
If you have a rough, patchy area of skin, schedule an appointment at Dermatology Associates of Western Pennsylvania for an evaluation.
The Dermatology Associates of Western Pennsylvania team customizes actinic keratosis treatment based on the size and location of your growth. They talk to you about your treatment options after examining your skin.
If your growth is small, your dermatologist may freeze it using liquid nitrogen or treat it with a topical chemotherapy cream. For patients with recurring AKs, the team may recommend photodynamic therapy (PDT).
For PDT, your dermatologist applies a solution to your skin that makes it very sensitive to light. After letting the solution set for 90-120 minutes at the office, your dermatologist treats the area with a blue or red light.
The light activates the solution, destroying the actinic keratosis.
To find out more about your actinic keratosis treatment options, call Dermatology Associates of Western Pennsylvania or request an appointment online today.