Actinic Keratosis Treatment

Sun damage slowly takes a toll on the skin, often leaving behind unwanted marks, blemishes, and even precancerous patches. Actinic keratosis is a common skin condition caused by long-term sun exposure, and the skilled physician assistants and dermatologists at our Greater Houston, TX, locations can help with treatment.

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What Is Actinic Keratosis?

Actinic keratosis (AK), also known as solar keratosis, is a rough, scaly patch that develops on the skin. It is often seen with older adults, people with a history of tanning bed use, or those who work outdoors in the sun. The condition usually develops on areas consistently exposed to light, such as the:

  • Lips
  • Ears
  • Face
  • Neck
  • Scalp
  • Back of the hands

You can reduce your risk of AK by reducing sun exposure and wearing sunscreen and skin-protective clothing.

As a person ages, the skin has a harder time repairing itself, allowing the effects of UV damage to accumulate. Because of this, AK is more common among patients over 40 years old. AK can potentially become cancerous in the future, so we suggest patients schedule regular skin checks with their dermatologist.

What Are My Actinic Keratosis Treatment Options?

Topical creams and liquid nitrogen treatments are common ways to address actinic keratosis. Our dermatologists may also recommend photodynamic therapy (PDT) for certain AK patients. During this procedure, we apply a photosensitizer to the skin, which is absorbed by the hair follicles, oil glands, and bacteria. Illumination with a high-intensity light causes a reaction in the skin, destroying the targeted tissue. This helps prevent the creation of precancerous cells and protects your skin from further damage.

The best way to treat your actinic keratosis depends on several personal factors. Your dermatologist will help you create a customized plan for your unique skin.

To learn more about your options for treating actinic keratosis in the greater Houston area, please request a consultation with one of our dermatology specialists at a location near you.