Actinic Keratosis appears as patches of red blotchy areas, with rough and scaly raised brown scab-like sores on the skin. It’s a condition that is caused by long-term exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun, so the results of it are commonly found on areas of your skin that are not covered by clothing such as the hands, face, arms, neck, and shoulders.
The cause isn’t limited to natural light: If you’ve used tanning beds regularly for some years, these can also cause damage that can contribute to actinic keratosis. If you’ve used sunbeds, you might find the condition appears on other parts of your body.
Though it can affect anyone who has had prolonged UV exposure, you are at a higher risk of developing actinic keratoses if you have light skin, fair hair and blue eyes, or if you have freckles on your face.
Firstly, it’s an unsightly condition that causes cosmetic concerns to those who have it, so many want it removed for that reason. Though the main reason for actually needing it treated is for your long-term health: actinic keratosis is a precancerous condition and with it comes the risk of it developing into a form of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.
While only around 10 percent of actinic keratoses will eventually become cancerous, the majority of cases of squamous cell carcinoma do begin as actinic keratosis. As there is no way of knowing beforehand which cases of actinic keratosis will become dangerous, it’s of the utmost importance to monitor and treat any that crop up, nipping them in the bud as a preventative measure.
Please note that seborrheic keratosis differs as it is not cancerous.
If you have signs that match the description of actinic keratosis, Secret Aesthetics recommends that you see your GP doctor in the first instance, as it’s a potentially serious condition. Your GP will undertake an examination and may refer you to a medical dermatologist who might need to take a biopsy of the affected area. They will then send the biopsy specimen to a dermatopathologist who will look at the sample tissue and make a diagnosis.
One option for the removal of actinic keratosis is the method of Cryosurgery. During this safe, effective and clinically-proven procedure, extremely cold liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue. At Secret Aesthetics, CryOpen® is the precision instrument of choice for this particular treatment as the fine nib allows immense accuracy in targeting affected areas, removing actinic keratosis while ensuring that surrounding healthy tissue is undamaged.
Fluorouracil is part of a group of chemotherapy drugs known as anti-metabolites, which achieve results by stopping cancer cells from working. This treatment comes as a prescription-only cream that is applied daily to the area of skin affected by actinic keratosis. After one week to ten days of treatment, the parts of treated skin become red, scaly and tender. As treatment is continued, sores and crusts may appear, which show success in the treatment as this means defective skin cells have been destroyed.
A necessary part of any treatment for actinic keratosis is that there will be some level of blistering or peeling. As your skin heals, the damaged cells will come away and new skin cells will appear as part of your body’s natural process of regeneration.
To support this process, Secret Aesthetics carry out fractional resurfacing with Cutera® Laser Treatment. Fractional resurfacing delivers a laser beam divided into thousands of microscopic treatment zones to target a tiny fraction of the skin at a time. It works by creating micro-injuries in the skin, which trigger the body’s natural healing process, promoting and accelerating the production of new, healthy skin cells.
Please get in touch with us to schedule your consultation. You can call Secret Aesthetics on 0121 616 6023 to speak to a member of the friendly team. If you’d prefer, email them at email@example.com and they’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, it’s quick and easy to book online.