Whether we’re outside working in the garden, hiking, or simply enjoying fine weather, we’re slowly accumulating more and more UV rays from the sun. Sunlight is good for us, but only to an extent. We need the sun to help give us Vitamin D, but too much sun can cause problems down the road. If you’ve recently started feeling uneven patches on the skin, little slivers or patches of rough skin, then you may have actinic keratosis.
What is it?
Actinic keratosis (also referred to as solar keratosis) forms when your skin is badly damaged by ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or indoor tanning. An actinic keratosis is generally a rough, crusty, or scaly patch of skin on a part of your body that has spend a lot of time in the sun. Many times, you’ll develop more than one.
Is it dangerous?
Actinic keratosis is technically precancerous, though many times we can catch and treat them before they become cancer. Around 6-10% of AKs can develop into squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) if they are left untreated so, though the chances are slim, there is still a chance that one could turn into cancer.
We recommend removing them whenever possible, but it depends on you and your personal situation if removal is right for you. Removing the lesion before it becomes cancerous can prevent more invasive procedures, for example.
How can I treat it?
If you’re looking to remove actinic keratosis, there are a few options. Chemical peels, Photodynamic Therapy, and topical medications can all be used to help treat and remove actinic keratosis. You may also opt for cryotherapy, and have the suspect lesion removed in a similar fashion to a wart or other problematic skin lesion.
Don’t panic if you suspect that you have actinic keratosis. We can help identify and provide answers regarding your lesions so, if you or a loved one has recently found a scaly patch of skin, give us a call today to schedule a consultation. We can suggest a treatment that best fits your specific situation. Dial (403) 255-1633 for Dr. Todd Remington and (403) 252-7784 for Dr. Kent Remington.