Dermatology Consultants P.A.
Board Certified Dermatologist located in Hialeah, FL & Miramar, FL
Long-term sun exposure alters the function of many cells that make up your skin, including keratinocytes. These cells make up most of your epidermis, which is the outer layer of skin. Actinic keratosis is a precancerous skin lesion and an unfortunate side effect of too much sun. Jose Mendez, DO, and the skilled skin care team at Dermatology Consultants P.A. in Miramar and Hialeah, Florida, can diagnose and treat actinic keratosis. If you have a scaly skin growth that’s not getting better, contact the office nearest you by phone or book online to schedule an evaluation.
What is actinic keratosis (AK)?
AK, also called solar keratosis, is a precancerous skin lesion that affects the outer layer of your skin (epidermis). The skin lesion develops from long-term exposure to the sun.
The ultraviolet sun rays alter the keratinocytes, which are the cells primarily found in your epidermis. Changes in your keratinocytes affect the growth of cells, creating the lesion.
Early diagnosis and treatment of AK may prevent abnormal skin cells from turning into skin cancer. Dermatology Consultants P.A. specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer, including precancerous lesions like AK.
What does actinic keratosis look like?
AK lesions are most commonly found on the sun-exposed areas of your body, including the face, lips, ears, neck, scalp, forearms, and back of the hand. Signs and symptoms of AK include:
- Rough, scaly skin growths
- Skin lesions that are tender to the touch
- Flat or slightly raised patches of skin
- Wart-like lesions
- Skin lesions that are pink, red, or brown in color
- Itching or burning sensation around the lesion
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. You should contact Dermatology Consultants P.A. to schedule a skin evaluation anytime you develop a skin lesion, especially if it doesn’t improve or heal over time.
How is actinic keratosis diagnosed?
In most cases, the skin care experts at Dermatology Consultants P.A. diagnose AK after a close examination of the lesion. If your provider has any concerns about the area, they may recommend a skin biopsy to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis.
How is actinic keratosis treated?
In some cases, AK lesions disappear on their own without treatment. However, the lesions typically return and may lead to skin cancer.
To reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, Dermatology Consultants P.A. recommends the removal of your AK lesion.
Removal options may include:
- Prescription medication you apply to the lesion
- Cryotherapy that freezes the lesion so it falls off on its own
- Curettage to scrape away the abnormal cells
- Photodynamic therapy
AK may increase your risk of developing skin cancer, even after removal. You can schedule regular skin cancer screenings after treatment to monitor your skin and treat other AK lesions as needed.
If you have concerns about a scaly, tender skin growth, contact Dermatology Consultants P.A. by phone or online today to schedule an evaluation.