ACTINIC KERATOSIS: A COMMON PRECANCER

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Keratin is a very strong protein that is a major component to the foundation found in our skin, hair, and nails. Keratosis refers to a type of skin disorder (either actinic or seborrheic) and is caused by the abnormal growth of keratin.

Actinic Keratosis is Skin Cancer’s Warning Signal

An actinic keratosis (AK), also known as a solar keratosis, is a pink or red scaly bump, or plaque (larger bump) that arises on the skin surface. This is considered a precancerous spot and if not treated, can turn into a squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). An even more common non-melanoma skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is often found with actinic keratosis, and treated with similar treatments.

Symptoms of actinic keratosis include:

  • Dry or rough patch of skin
  • Flat to slightly raised patch of skin
  • Wart-like patch
  • Discoloration
  • Tenderness, itching or burning of the affected area

Prevention and protection against actinic keratosis is key and covering yourself from the sun is the most critical method to fight against the development and recurrence of the lesions.

DON’T MISTAKE SEBORRHEIC KERATOSIS

As one of the most common types of non-cancerous skin growths, seborrheic keratosis affects most adults aged over 40 and is characterized by a brown, warty, and slightly elevated growth. Most patients see this type of keratosis occur on their face, chest, shoulders, or back.

Symptoms of seborrheic keratosis:

  • Discoloration
  • Round or oval shaped growth
  • Flat to slightly raised patch of skin
  • Itchiness

Fortunately, this type of skin growth is not deeply rooted so removal is relatively easy with liquid nitrogen freezing, and most often will not leave a scar.*

THE NEXT STEP

At Northwest Face & Body, our team of qualified physicians and aestheticians utilize several methods for the removal of these types of keratosis, including:

  • Cryosurgery
  • Curettage and Desiccation
  • Topical Medications
  • Chemical Peeling
  • Laser Surgery
  • Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

If you think you might be suffering from actinic or seborrheic keratosis, and want a diagnosis and treatment, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

*Individual results may vary




MEET DR. JULIE E. VOSS

BOARD-CERTIFIED DERMATOLOGIST

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