Actinic Keratosis

SkinCare in Wellesley, MA

Skin cancer is among the most common types of cancer, but it is often preventable and highly treatable, especially when patients know the signs to look for and seek care as early as possible. Actinic keratosis is a precancer of the skin that can be treated by an expert dermatologist like Dr. Rashel Goodkin.

What is Actinic Keratosis?

Actinic keratosis is a precancerous spot that forms on the skin. Another name for the condition is “solar keratosis,” as the condition generally develops after excess sun exposure or use of tanning beds or lamps. If not treated properly, actinic keratosis can develop into squamous cell carcinoma.

What are Symptoms of Actinic Keratosis?

Actinic keratosis usually looks like a small, dry, or scaly patch of skin that may be pink, red, tan, flesh-colored, or a combination of these. In some cases, actinic keratosis is also raised. Often, it is easier to feel actinic keratoses rather than see them, because the rough texture is more noticeable than discoloration. Actinic keratoses usually develop in areas that are exposed to sun the most often, including the face, lips, shoulders, hands, forearms, neck, ears, or scalp. Areas that tan or burn first are the most likely to develop actinic keratoses.

Actinic Keratosis Treatment

If you believe you have actinic keratoses, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Goodkin as untreated actinic keratoses can lead to skin cancer. Early intervention is key to preserve your health. Treatment for actinic keratoses can be easliy achieved without surgery.

Dr. Goodkin may recommend removing the actinic keratosis through a procedure known as cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen). During the procedure, a very cold spray is applied to the spot killing the precancerous cells. The skin then heals with healthy cells replacing the precancerous cells. The healing process usually takes between 1-3 weeks.

Topical treatments may also be prescribed, especially for those with more widespread or multiple keratoses. The prescriptions creams work by affecting the cells that divide more rapidly than they should (precancerous cells) or by helping the immune system recognize and remove the precancerous cells. The treatment usually takes about 2-3 weeks.

Schedule an Appointment

If you see signs of actinic keratosis or have concerns about other skin cancer symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Goodkin by calling 781.227.7977 or request your appointment through our online form.