Actinic Keratosis (Pre-Cancerous Cells) Chicago
What is Actinic Keratosis?
Actinic Keratosis is a precancerous skin lesion that appears as rough, scaly or crusty skin patches that develops from long- term chronic sun exposure. Actinic keratoses should be treated immediately to prevent them from turning into squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. Most people that are susceptible to developing these precancerous lesions typically will continue to get them and should consistently see a dermatologist for body scans to destroy the lesions as they appear for the best form of prevention.
What causes Actinic Keratosis?
Actinic Keratosis is caused by chronic sun exposure to the skin. The damage from the ultra-violet (UV) rays can cause the lesions to appear on the face, lips, scalp, ears, neck, forearms, or anywhere on the body that has accumulated excess exposure. Our Doctors recommend limiting sun exposure, applying sunblock every 2 hours and wearing UV protective clothing and hats and sunglasses when out in the sun for longer periods. The sun’s rays are strongest during the hours of 10am-2pm so try to limit exposure during this time frame.
How can I treat Actinic Keratosis?
Actinic Keratosis is commonly treated with Photodynamic Therapy. This therapy uses a specific topical medication that is applied to the skin and is activated by light therapy, commonly BLU-U light treatment. The light activates the medicine deep into the skin, causing it to react with oxygen, which forms a specific chemical that kills the cells. The lesions can also be frozen with liquid nitrogen, or topical therapy may be prescribed by one our providers.