Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis — Know It All!

Editorial

All you need to know about Actinic keratosis.

Know your ailment well, so you can manage it better!!

Here we come with Actinic keratosis today!

Actinic keratosis

Overview:

Actinic keratosis is also known as Solar Keratosis.

A rough, scaly patch on your skin that grows from years of exposure to the sun is actinic keratosis. On your forehead, lips, ears, back of your hands, forearms, scalp or neck, it is most commonly found.

Actinic keratosis, also referred to as solar keratosis slowly enlarges and typically produces no signs or symptoms other than a stain or small spot on your skin. It takes years for these patches to develop, typically emerging first in individuals over 40.

A small percentage of lesions with actinic keratosis will eventually become the cancer of the skin. By minimising your sun exposure and shielding your skin from ultraviolet ( UV) rays, you will decrease your risk of actinic keratosis.

Causes:

Actinic keratosis (AK) is a precancerous growth of the skin that occurs on skin badly affected by ultraviolet ( UV ) light from:

  • The Sun
  • Indoor equipment for tanning, such as tanning beds or sunlamps

How can Actinic Keratosis be caused by UV light?

It can affect cells in the skin called keratinocytes when UV light reaches our skin. In the outermost layer of the skin, these cells reside and give our skin its texture. When these cells are damaged by UV light, changes happen that cause our skin to:

  • Have a rugged and scaly feel
  • Discoloured appearance
  • Develop horn-like growths and bumps
Actinic keratosis

Symptoms:

As dense, scaly, crusty skin patches, actinic keratoses start out. Generally, these patches are around the size of a small pencil eraser. In the affected area, there may be scratching or burning.

The lesions can disappear over time, enlarge, stay the same, or grow into SCC. There’s no way to understand which lesions can become cancerous. However, if you find any of the following alterations, you can have your spots checked by a doctor promptly:

hardening of the lesion

  • inflammation
  • rapid enlargement
  • bleeding
  • redness
  • ulceration

Don’t panic if there are cancerous changes. SCC is relatively easy to diagnose and treat in its early stages.

Actinic keratosis

Risk Factors:

Anyone can develop actinic keratoses. But you may be more likely to develop the condition if you:

  • Are older than 40
  • Live in a sunny place
  • Have a history of frequent or intense sun exposure or sunburn
  • Have red or blond hair, and blue or light-coloured eyes
  • Tend to freckle or burn when exposed to sunlight
  • Have a personal history of an actinic keratosis or skin cancer
  • Have a weak immune system as a result of chemotherapy, leukaemia, AIDS or organ transplant medications

Complications:

If treated early, it is possible to clear up or eliminate almost all actinic keratoses before they grow into skin cancer. Some of these spots can progress to squamous cell carcinoma if left untreated, a form of cancer that, if diagnosed and treated early, is typically not life-threatening.

Diagnosis:

It is possible that your doctor will be able to decide whether you have actinic keratosis simply by inspecting the skin. Your doctor can do other tests, such as a skin biopsy if doubts arise. Your doctor takes a small sample of your skin for examination in a laboratory during a skin biopsy. After a numbing injection, a biopsy may normally be performed in a doctor’s office.

Even after treatment for actinic keratosis, your doctor would probably recommend that you have your skin tested for signs of skin cancer at least once a year.

Actinic keratosis

Treatment Options:

What are Actinic Keratosis treatments?

A variety of therapies are available for actinic keratosis, a disease in which too much exposure to the sun leads to cancerous lesions (keratosis). Included are:

Cryo-Surgery. The surface skin is ‘frozen’ by liquid nitrogen, which causes some skin redness and occasionally blistering before new skin replaces the area. This is the therapy for actinic keratosis that is most widely used. It is an office procedure that is quick.

Removal by surgery and biopsy. If there is a risk it has become cancerous, the lesion can be removed and examined.

Chemo-therapy. For the skin lesion or the whole sun-damaged area, a topical cancer medicinal cream called fluorouracil is applied. Working takes about 4 to 6 weeks. Until new skin appears, the skin usually turns red and blisters.

Photodynamic Therapy. To the skin, a chemical is added. To destroy the abnormal skin cells, the skin is then exposed to a light that activates the chemical. Burning, stinging, and changes in the skin’s pigmentation can occur.

Chemical exfoliation(peel): In order to induce blistering and peeling away of actinic keratoses, a chemical solution is applied to the skin. There will definitely be temporary redness and swelling.

Dermabrasion. Elimination. To “sand” the skin and enhance its appearance, it uses a handheld unit. It may be used to treat large lesions that are often too large for topical therapies to be treated. It leaves the skin raw and red and can be a painful process. Sometimes, a topical numbing ointment, nerve blocks, or other treatments for pain are used.

Immunomodulator Therapy. Imiquimod cream, ingenol gel, or diclofenac gel acts selectively to rid the skin of unhealthy cells, much like fluorouracil. Redness, scratching, swelling, crusting, and peeling can occur …

Actinic keratosis

How to prevent the disease:

It is necessary to avoid actinic keratosis because the condition may be a precursor to cancer or an early type of skin cancer. To help prevent the growth and recurrence of actinic keratosis patches and spots, sun protection is important.

To safeguard your skin from the light, take these steps:

In the sun, limit your exposure time. In particular, avoiding time in the sun between 10 a.m. Yes, and 2 p.m. And stop spending too long in the heat that you get sunburn or sunburn. Both contribute to damage to the skin that can increase the risk of developing actinic keratosis and skin cancer. Actinic keratosis can also be caused by accumulated sun exposure over time.

Apply sunscreen. The growth of actinic keratosis is minimised by the frequent use of sunscreen. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor ( SPF) of at least 30 prior to spending time outdoors. A broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is recommended for use by the American Academy of Dermatology.

Using sunscreen on all exposed skin, and use sunscreen on your lips with lip balm. Using sunscreen 15 minutes before exposure to the sun and reapply it every two hours, or more often if you swim or sweat.

Cover up. Wear tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs for added protection from the sun. Wear a wide-brimmed hat as well, which offers more protection than a baseball cap or golf visor. Specially built to provide sun protection, you can also suggest wearing clothing or outdoor gear.

Stop tanning. As much skin damage as a tan obtained from the sun can be caused by UV penetration from a tanning bed.

Regularly check your skin and report the changes to your doctor. Regularly check your skin, searching for new skin growth or improvements in existing moles, freckles, bumps and birthmarks to create. Verify the face, hands, ears and scalp with the aid of mirrors. Examine the arms and hands for the tops and undersides.

References:

All Images used are for representation purposes and are obtained from google search and we do not intend to violate copyrights, all credits are due with respective content owners. If you wish to take credit or intend to remove the image, Kindly let us know in the comments.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/actinic-keratosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354969

https://www.webmd.com/beauty/cosmetic-procedures-dermabrasion#1

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/actinic-keratosis-symptoms

https://www.healthline.com/health/actinic-keratosis#treatment

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/882876-treatment

Actinic Keratosis

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