Home >>  Skin Conditions and Diseases >>  Actinic keratosis  

Actinic Keratosis Causes and Treatment

Actinic keratosis or AK's as they go by in dermatologist's terminology, are known as precancerous or premalignant growths or spots that occur commonly in white skinned people. It is also known as solar keratosis and these spots range from a tiny spot as small as a pinpoint to a size that can cover an inch. These spots form on the skin surface and are characterized by scaly and crusty bumps to the touch. They are known as solar keratosis as it is caused by sun exposure in those who lack melanin, the protective skin pigment. It is commonly seen in blonde and red haired individuals who have hazel blue or green eyes.

Most pale or white skinned individuals who repeatedly expose themselves to the sun or suffer from severe sunburn stand a risk of developing actinic keratosis. It is also possible that those who lack a strong immune system due to heavy medication, chemotherapy, transplant medications, AIDS or chronic leukemia can develop this condition.

As this condition is believed to precancerous it can be eliminated if it is effectively and successfully treated. In its premalignant stage this condition is not harmful nor life threatening, and if detected early it can be prevented completely. If left provided with medical care or treatment these cells go on to develop into squamos cell carcinoma which is a grievous type of skin cancer.

It's nearly not possible to say which spots or patches on the skin would lead to skin cancer. People, who have less melanin in their skin than dark skinned folks, need to take active measure to ensure that they do not develop any kind of skin trauma by being in the sun for too long.

Prevention as is with most ailments and disorders is the best weapon in preventing actinic keratosis. As much as possible it is best to avoid the harsh exposure of the sun during peak hours. And if it's a must the skin must be covered with a good sunscreen that will best protect the skin to the maximum.

Sunscreen must be applied to all exposed parts of the body including the lips and ears. Apply a good portion of sunscreen if you know you are going to have to stay out in the open for too long. Take extra protection in terms of clothing and covering. Light woven clothes that cover the hands and legs and a hat or a broad cap can help eliminate the harsh rays of the sun to a maximum.