So You Have Actinic Keratosis… Now What?

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Actinic keratosis, also known as solar keratosis, is a common premalignant skin lesion primarily caused by excess UV exposure. These rough, scaly patches range from brown to tan to dark pink and typically appear on the face, lips, neck, ears, scalp, forearms, and hands. While many actinic keratoses are benign, they progress to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) approximately 10% of the time

If you’ve been diagnosed with actinic keratosis, you might be wondering about your next steps. At Harris Dermatology, our board-certified dermatologists regularly treat these lesions to lower our patients’ risk of developing skin cancer. Here’s what you need to know about your solar keratosis treatment options.

What Causes Actinic Keratosis?

This common form of pre-cancer is caused by years of excess sun exposure, so wearing a high-SPF sunscreen daily and sun-protective clothing during outdoor activities can reduce your risk. 

Other factors can heighten your chances of developing actinic keratosis, including:

  • Older age
  • Being male
  • Fair skin, light-colored eyes, and red or blonde hair
  • Living in a sunny area (like Florida!)
  • Compromised immune system
  • History of actinic keratosis

If you have any of the above risk factors, you should also schedule regular skin cancer screenings since the two conditions share risk factors.

Why Should I Get Actinic Keratosis Removed?

If our dermatologists see a patch that looks like actinic keratosis, we’ll perform a skin biopsy. Even if the lesion is benign, removal is a smart, proactive choice to avoid future complications and SCC.

Numerous removal options for actinic keratosis can be performed as outpatient procedures under local anesthesia. These include cryotherapy (freezing), curettage or shaving, or surgical excision. We may use broader treatments like dermabrasion, photodynamic therapy, chemical peels, laser resurfacing, or topical medications if you have multiple clustered lesions.

Actinic Keratosis Removal in Fort Meyers and Naples, Florida

If you have actinic keratosis, you can take control of your health by seeking prompt treatment. Our warm and welcoming board-certified dermatologists have performed countless actinic keratoses removals, giving each patient peace of mind in a short office visit. To schedule your appointment, contact Harris Dermatology’s offices in Fort Myers, Florida at 239-936-3344 or Naples, Florida at 239-596-1848.


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