A new website, Listen To Your Skin, educates consumers about the precancerous skin condition actinic keratosis. Many are unaware that several non-surgical cosmetic procedures are treatment options.
Caused by years of sun exposure, actinic keratosis has the potential to develop into squamous cell carcinoma. AK affects about 58 million Americans.
The website aims to raise awareness about the consequences and symptoms of actinic keratosis. The site includes photos of AK and explains how to check your own skin for AK and other signs of sun damage.
“Many people are aware of the connection between melanoma and moles, but many Americans who may be at risk for skin cancer are unaware of actinic keratoses, what they look like, how to detect them and their relationship to skin cancer,” says dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology. “In fact, nonmelanoma skin cancers make up the vast majority of skin cancers diagnosed each year.”
Symptoms of actinic keratosis include lesions that are small and red, brown, or skin-colored patches that usually appear on the face, neck, hands and scalp — but can be found on other areas of the skin as well. The lesions may also:
- Have a rough texture
- Have red, irritated skin around them
- Itch, burn or sting
Treating Actinic Keratosis
There are several different treatment options for AK. Your doctor may prescribe a topical cream or “freeze off” visible lesions with liquid nitrogen treatments.
Chemical peels are another treatment option. The old skin with the AK lesions is peeled off and healthy skin replaces it.
Lasers can also be used to remove actinic keratoses.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses a special chemical solution that makes skin more sensitive to light. When the treated skin is exposed to light, it activates the solution and destroys the AK lesions.
If you have concerns about actinic keratosis or other skin conditions, contact Visage Surgical Institute.