Actinic Keratosis

In the U.S, actinic ker­atoses rep­re­sent the sec­ond most fre­quent rea­son for patients to vis­it a der­ma­tol­o­gist. It begins as small rough patch­es that are eas­i­er felt than seen, often described as sim­i­lar to rub­bing sand­pa­per. With time, the lesions enlarge, usu­al­ly becom­ing red and scaly. An actinic ker­ato­sis may fol­low one of three paths; it may regress, it may per­sist unchanged, or it may progress to an inva­sive skin can­cer called a squa­mous cell car­ci­no­ma. Treat­ment con­sists of two broad cat­e­gories; sur­gi­cal destruc­tion and med­ical ther­a­py. The appro­pri­ate treat­ment is cho­sen nor­mal­ly based on the num­ber of lesions present and the effi­ca­cy of the treat­ment. Addi­tion­al vari­ables such as patient age, his­to­ry of skin can­cer, and tol­er­a­bil­i­ty of the treat­ment choice are tak­en into con­sid­er­a­tion. To avoid these lesions, com­mon sense sun safe­ty should be prac­ticed such as using a broad spec­trum sun­screen, SPF 50, lim­it­ing out­door activ­i­ty dur­ing the peak sun hours of 10:00 – 3:00, and wear­ing pro­tec­tive clothing.