Actinic Keratosis

What is actinic keratosis?

Actinic Keratoses are precancerous skin lesions that may progress into squamous cell carcinomas. They usually occur in fair-skinned individuals after years of sun exposure. Typical actinic keratoses are characterized by rough dry lesions or patches that appear on sun-exposed areas of the skin, such as the shoulders, forehead, ears, neck, arms, hands, lower lip and bald scalps. The lesions may be red, pink, gray or skin colored that are more easily felt than seen. Lesions often begin as flat, scaly areas and develop into a rough-textured surface. 

How to prevent actinic keratosis

Prevention of actinic keratoses begins avoiding prolonged sun exposure and using sunscreen. These measures should start in childhood, as the sun damage responsible begins in early life.

Who gets actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis is more common among fair-skinned people and those who have had years of outdoor or tanning bed exposure to ultraviolet light.

How to treat actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis can develop into malignant cells, typically squamous cell carcinoma, which is a type of skin cancer. That’s why treatment is important. Various modalities are used to treat actinic keratoses. Cryosurgery, or freezing involved areas with liquid nitrogen, is the usual treatment for patients with few lesions.

Cryosurgery, which freezes off the growth using liquid nitrogen.

Surgical removal in which the doctor scrapes off the lesion and bleeding is stopped by electrocautery.

Chemical peels that cause the top layer of skin to peel off.

Photodynamic therapy in which a dye is applied that sensitizes the skin to light and the area is then exposed to light via a laser or other light source.

Topical Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) that cause a slow inflammation and peeling; used in more superficial cases.

Topical Chemotherapeutic agents (5 Fluorouracil, Aldara) can also be used.

Other types of skin bumps

Skin bumps come in many forms. For the most part, they are all benign, but should always be monitored if they change color, shape or bleed. There are numerous forms of skin bumps, including milia, sebaceous hyperplasia, moles (nevi), Barnacles, red bumps (hemangiomas), warts, cysts, keloids, skin tags, and keratosis pilaris. A few of the most common kinds of skin bumps are cysts, skin tags, and keratosis pilaris.

Cysts are noncancerous, closed pockets of tissue that can be filled with fluid, pus, or other material. Skin tags are tiny, outpouching areas of skin that develop for many reasons, such as hormonal changes, age or hereditary. They are completely harmless and do not require treatment, although many people elect to have them removed for cosmetic reasons. Keratosis pilaris (commonly called KP) looks like chicken skin bumps on the upper arms and thighs. They can also appear on the cheeks, back, and buttocks. Keratosis pilaris is harmless, but the appearance can be bothersome. The condition is helped by finding a balance between exfoliation and moisture. Glycolic acid is also an effective product to use to treat this condition.

There is no one treatment that works for all the lumps and bumps on our skin. Traditional methods for removing skin tags and bumps, such as liquid nitrogen and glycolic acid. Affiliated Dermatology’s highly-skilled team of medical professionals, along with our state-of-the-art technology and treatments, can remove and help heal skin bumps such as cysts, skin tags, and KP. We offer a variety of treatment options that smooth and eliminate skin bumps leaving you with smooth, clear skin.


Request an Appointment

For more information or to schedule an appointment at one of our several dermatology offices in Arizona, please contact us by calling (480) 556-0446 or leaving us a message with the contact form below.

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