Actinic Keratosis Specialist

Seacoast Dermatology, PLLC

Dermatology Clinic and Mohs Surgery located in Portsmouth, Dover, and Exeter, NH

Actinic keratosis is your body’s warning sign that you may, if you don’t get treatment, develop squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma, forms of skin cancer. At Seacoast Dermatology, PLLC, with locations in Portsmouth, Dover, Exeter, and Newmarket, New Hampshire, the team of expert physicians can identify and treat actinic keratosis to prevent complications. If you notice suspicious lesions anywhere on your body, especially those that experience sun exposure, call one of the locations, or book online for an appointment.

Actinic Keratosis Q & A

What causes actinic keratosis?

These crusty, scaly growths are caused by the damage from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Tanning bed use can also cause them to form. Men and women who are fair in complexion with blonde or red hair and light eyes are usually most vulnerable.

Actinic keratosis is not skin cancer, but if ignored, it can develop into cancer – usually squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common type of skin cancer.

Actinic keratosis is the most common type of precancerous skin lesion.

Where does actinic keratosis appear?

You find actinic keratosis on areas exposed to the sun most frequently. This includes your:

  • Face
  • Ears
  • Neck
  • Bald head
  • Shoulders
  • Back of hands
  • Forearms

Occasionally, actinic keratosis appears on the shins or other parts of the leg.

What does actinic keratosis look like?

Actinic keratosis lesions may resemble warts. Their rough textured and elevated. Usually red in color, some can be flesh-toned, white, pink, or dark tan – or a mix of colors. You usually feel them before you notice them. They can be itchy or tender.

How is actinic keratosis treated?

Early treatment eliminates the lesions and prevents them from becoming cancerous. The doctors at Seacoast Dermatology, PLLC, offer a number of options and determine which are best for you depending on the lesions’ location and nature of the growth.

You may undergo:

  • Cryosurgery, which involves using liquid nitrogen to freeze off the offending tissue
  • Laser surgery, which involves using light energy to dissolve lesions
  • Curettage and desiccation, which involves shaving or scraping off the lesion along with treatment to destroy remaining pre-cancerous cells

Topical treatments are also available, especially if you have numerous, widespread lesions. Topical treatments sometimes include checmial peels, special gels, or creams.

Photodynamic therapy is another excellent treatment and preventive option. During this therapy, a topical agent is applied to your skin followed by a strong light that activates the agent to destroy the lesions, while keeping healthy tissues safe.

Several of these therapies can be combined, too.

If you’re concerned about sun damage and actinic keratosis, get screened by the team at Seacoast Dermatology, PLLC. Call one of the offices, or book online.

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