Actinic Keratosis

Dermatology located in Venice, FL
Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis services offered in Venice, FL

At least 40 million Americans develop an actinic keratosis (a precancerous skin growth) annually. In Venice, Florida, Hobart K. Richey, MD, an experienced board-certified dermatologist, can treat actinic keratoses early to keep you healthy and prevent you from developing skin cancer. If you have a new skin lesion, call the Hobart K. Richey, MD, PA, office or click on the online booking link now.

Actinic Keratosis Q&A

What is an actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis is a precancerous skin growth. That type of growth can develop because of sun exposure. Your skin can regenerate and renew itself, but only up to a certain point. After years of sun exposure, damage accumulates to form an actinic keratosis. 

People who use indoor tanning beds may be even more likely to get an actinic keratosis than those who spend a lot of time in the sun. The most common sites for actinic keratoses are the face, neck, ears, hands, and scalp. You can also develop this kind of precancerous growth on the lips, where it’s called actinic cheilitis.

An actinic keratosis can turn into squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common kind of skin cancer. 

What does an actinic keratosis look like?

Actinic keratosis can appear in many forms, including:

  • Red, pink, brown, tan, white, yellow, gray, or skin-colored lesion
  • Rough skin patch
  • Scaly bumps that resemble acne
  • Scaly lip
  • Loss of color in a lip
  • Horn-like growth protruding from the skin

Usually, you notice skin changes but won’t experience discomfort or pain. However, an actinic keratosis can sometimes itch, sting, bleed, or cause other issues. 

How is an actinic keratosis treated?

Dr. Richey recommends a treatment based on the number of actinic keratoses you have, their location, and other individual factors. 

He recommends removing actinic keratoses as a precaution, which commonly involves office-based procedures like cryosurgery (freezing the growth off with liquid nitrogen) or a chemical peel (destroying the growth with trichloroacetic acid or another type of acid). 

Dr. Richey can also perform in-office dermatologic surgery to remove larger or thicker growths. If you have recurrent actinic keratoses, Dr. Richey might recommend a light-based treatment called photodynamic therapy. 

Many people with actinic keratoses also need to revise their sun protection practices. Dr. Richey can recommend ways to protect your skin and discourage new actinic keratoses. That involves avoiding tanning, wearing a medical-grade sunscreen or sunblock, and being mindful of the amount of sun exposure that can happen even in the course of routine daily activities. 

An actinic keratosis doesn’t mean that you have skin cancer but you could develop it if you don’t treat the growth now. Dr. Richey can easily diagnose and remove your actinic keratosis in the office, so don’t wait any longer to protect yourself from skin cancer. Call the Hobart K. Richey, MD, PA, office or book your appointment using the provided link now.