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What is actinic keratosis and how can it be treated?

There are many skin conditions that can impact patients, which is why it is so important to have a trusted staff of dermatologists by your side. When you experience changes or growths on the skin, it is vital that you reach out to a dermatologist to have it examined and to get a proper diagnosis. Conditions such as skin cancer should be screened annually with a head-to-toe skin cancer evaluation. Any concerning growths can be biopsied to check for cancerous cells. However, there are other growths that may develop on the skin that are not skin cancer, including actinic keratosis.

What is actinic keratosis?

The doctors at Harris Dermatology describe actinic keratosis as a patch that can develop on the skin from continued sun exposure. This patch is often less than an inch in size and may appear scaly or rough. Some dermatologists call them “solar keratosis” because of how they form. Actinic keratosis may also appear as a flat or raised bump on the upper layer of skin, may be colored anywhere from pink to brown, and in some cases, may appear as a hard, wart-like growth on the skin. Some patients even experience burning and itching of the growth which can make it problematic. Actinic keratosis is often seen on sun-exposed areas of the face and body, including the lips, ears, neck, scalp, forearms, and hands.

What can be done about actinic keratosis?

Patients need to visit with a dermatologist for a screening if they notice any new or unusual skin concerns that develop over time. While most actinic keratosis is benign, it can develop into skin cancer at a later point. This is why our team will often encourage patients to have them removed or cleared up to avoid the risk of cancer in the future.

How is actinic keratosis treated?

Patients have a few options to choose from when removing actinic keratoses:

  • Cryotherapy (freezing)
  • Curettage (scraping)
  • Photodynamic therapy

Call Harris Dermatology today!

With two convenient office locations in Fort Myers and Naples, Florida, new patients are welcome to work with our dermatological team to discuss their skin and body needs. Our professionals are here to help with medical and cosmetic dermatology needs.


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