The rough and scaly spots, which usually start appearing on the faces, arms, or hands at old age are known as actinic keratosis.
These skin patches usually have a pink, grey, tan, or brown colour which is often due to too much exposure to the sun. Additionally, years of exposure to the ultraviolet rays of sunlight may lead to this problem.
Though a small risk, actinic keratosis can progress to cancerous squamous cell carcinoma.
There are various treatment options available to remove actinic keratosis. London Dermatology Clinic specialises in keratosis removal.
In this article, we will not only discuss keratosis removal tips but we will also take a look at some of the keratosis treatment options available to get rid of these spots.
Causes of actinic keratosis
Understanding the causes of actinic keratosis is really important before we move towards Keratosis treatment options.
The risk of developing Actinic Keratosis is increased if you:
- Have a history of sunburns earlier in life.
- Have light-coloured skin and blue eyes.
- Have human papillomavirus.
- Have a tendency to sunburn easily.
- Are over age 60.
Symptoms of actinic keratosis
Actinic Keratoses start out as crusty, scaly, and thick skin patches.
There might be burning or itching in the affected area but you cannot determine which lesions may become cancerous. Therefore, you should consult a qualified doctor for Keratosis treatment if you notice redness, bleeding, rapid enlargement, inflammation, ulceration, or hardening of the lesion.
How experts diagnose the actinic keratosis?
The skin experts at London Dermatology Clinic can diagnose actinic keratosis by simply looking at it. In some instances requiring detailed analysis, the doctor will take a skin biopsy of any suspicious-looking lesions. This is the only way that can help determine whether the lesions have turned into a cancerous squamous cell carcinoma or not.
Keratosis Treatment options
Now that you have understood the importance of effective keratosis removal, it is time to take a look at the common Keratosis treatment options that doctors use these days.
There is no doubt that there are various different treatment options for Keratosis removal but we will talk about a few methods that have proved to be really successful over the past few years.
Cryotherapy is a method where doctors spray cryosurgery solution such as liquid nitrogen over the lesion. It’s the most suitable method for Keratosis removal as it kills the cells by freezing them. Within a few days, the lesion will scab over and fall off. There is minimal scarring as no stitches are required.
Cauterization is the process used to kill the affected skin cells. In this method, the doctors burn the lesion with an electric current. This process can be performed by an experienced doctor and does not routinely involve any stitches.
Excision is a common Keratosis treatment where doctors cut off the lesion from your skin. If there are any concerns about skin cancer, the doctor may decide to remove extra tissue under the lesion which is then sent off to the laboratory for analysis. According to the size of the incision, the doctor will decide whether stitches are necessary or not.
4. Topical Medical Therapy
There are different topical treatments like 5-fluorouracil (Tolak, Fluoroplex, Efudex, Carac) which cause destruction and inflammation of the lesions. Ingenol mebutate (Picato) and imiquimod (Zyclara, Aldara) are other common topical treatments used for Keratosis removal.
Phototherapy is a keratosis treatment where doctors apply the solution over the affected skin and the lesion. They then use intense laser light to kill the cells. Prescription medications like methyl aminolevulinate cream (Metvix) and aminolevulinic acid are the common solutions used in phototherapy.
Prevention of actinic keratosis
Actinic keratosis may cause cancer in some conditions, therefore, patients often ask about prevention. The development and recurrence of actinic keratosis can be reduced if you spend less time under sunlight.
Here are a few important steps you can follow if you want to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.
1. Limit your time in the sun
Make sure that you’re spending less time under sunlight. Exposure to the sun may lead to other problems such as being sunburnt. Repeat unprotected exposure can increase the risk of developing skin cancer and actinic keratosis.
2. Use Sunscreen
The development of actinic keratosis is ultimately reduced when you start using sunscreen on an everyday basis. The sunscreen that comes with a sun protection factor of at least 15 is an ideal starting point. The experts at the London Dermatology Clinic recommend using a sunscreen that comes with an SPF of at least 30. Don’t forget to use lip balm on your lips as it protects your lips from the harmful effects of sunlight too.
Many of the keratosis treatment options, we’ve discussed in this article, are relatively straightforward procedures in the right hands of trained experts. If you still need any help regarding keratosis removal, you may get in touch with our experts at the London Dermatology Clinic. Our friendly team is available to assist you further.