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Actinic keratosis: Diagnosis and Treatment

Actinic keratosis is a kind of skin condition that affects the human body, especially in exposed areas such as the face, lips, ears, neck, back, scalp, or forearms. It is commonly referred to as solar keratosis as well since the condition starts to appear as a result of severe sun exposure.

In actinic keratosis, the skin starts to form scaly and rough patches as a result of excessive sun exposure over the years. Therefore, it is no surprise that you can easily attempt to stop this condition of keratosis from affecting you by simply limiting your exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Most people only seek actinic keratosis treatment after the onset of the symptoms. Luckily, these keratosis symptoms only appear after the age of 40 despite growing from an earlier age. Unfortunately, the symptoms appear so late, it does not provide the body with the allowance to use internal healing components and recoup from the condition of keratosis.

It is best to keep a lookout for the slightest sign and symptoms that you may need keratosis treatment. If you do in fact notice these symptoms, consult with a dermatologist immediately and seek proper care for the keratosis.

What Are The Symptoms Of Actinic Keratosis?

As we have mentioned, the symptoms of actinic keratosis mostly appear after the age of 40, there are a few early signs that you can look out for and seek actinic keratosis treatment right away. Here are some of the symptoms of actinic keratosis:

  • Skin that starts to dry up slowly, forming red and patchy skin on the surface.
  • Formations of small, bumpy patches on the skin that may appear slightly raised from the surface of the skin or even flat.
  • Varying shades of red, brown, or pink appear on the patchy skin.
  • Formations of small wart-like objects that are hard on the surface and appear scaly.
  • Crusts form on the surface of the skin.
  • A burning sensation on the affected area.
  • Rigorous itching in the affected area
  • Bleeding from broken flesh wounds on the surface of the skin.
  • Tingling and bumpy sensations on areas of the body that are usually exposed to the sun.


If you see these symptoms of keratosis, it is best to seek medical attention. Most of these symptoms may appear once you turn 40 but the itchiness and concerns in the sun may appear sooner. It is good to consult a dermatologist if that happens.

How To Diagnose Keratosis?

The diagnosis of actinic keratosis is quite simple. In most cases, doctors, specifically dermatologists can diagnose keratosis by feeling the surface of your skin. They will examine it thoroughly and if the concerns for the bumps and dry, scaly skin is actinic keratosis, they can diagnose and treat it.

In some cases, the doctor may suggest that you get additional tests done, particularly a skin biopsy can be very helpful. The doctor will administer an injection to numb the skin and procure a sample for diagnosis. They will then send the sample to the lab for further testing.

These methods of diagnosis are very effective and simple, quite hassle-free. If the diagnosis indicates that you need actinic keratosis treatment, the doctor may advise a suitable method of treatment clinically or at home. If you acquire keratosis treatment, make it a point to visit the facility once a year for follow-ups. In case your condition returns, the dermatologist can identify so with preliminary routine tests and advise subsequent methods of keratosis treatment.

What Is Actinic Keratosis Treatment?

The actinic keratosis treatment that the dermatologist will suggest will depend on the severity of your condition. For the most part, simple medications may help rectify the condition of the skin and help it recoup. There are also various types of targeted surgery that can help with keratosis of any kind.

Here are the popular methods of actinic keratosis treatment:

1. Medication For The Keratosis Treatment

Based on the severity of your condition, the doctor will suggest different forms of keratosis treatment by medication. If the number of keratosis on your body is exceeding or too high, the doctor may suggest Fluorouracil, Amiquimod, diclofenac, or ingeol mebutate. These are drugs present in the medication for keratosis treatment and they are available in the form of gel or cream that you can simply apply. 

Fluoreplex, Carac, Zyclara, Aldara, Solaraze, etc. are perfect examples of these medications for the actinic keratosis treatment.

2. Types Of Surgeries For Actinic Keratosis Treatment

The surgeries for actinic keratosis may be a little complex based on the intensity of the scaly and patchy skin that develops on the body. Here are a few types of targeted surgeries that the doctor may suggest for your actinic keratosis treatment:

Scraping Or Curettage

During a procedure of scraping, the doctor uses a device to scrape away the pieces of cells that are damaged. This device called the curet is an instrument that looks like a pencil and the doctor uses it to targets the different parts of the body affected by actinic keratosis.

They pass an electric charge after putting you under the effects of local anesthesia. It is an effective therapy but there will be scarring as side effects and a little change in the color of the skin in the affected area.

Freezing or Cryotherapy

In this form of actinic keratosis treatment, the doctor opts for liquid nitrogen to simply freeze the affected area. This causes the area around the skin affected by keratosis to blister o peel away.

This process is an effective solution to allow the growth of new and healthier skin although it has similar side effects as Scraping.

Laser Therapy

One of the most effective keratosis treatments is to allow the doctor to use an ablative laser and destroy the skin in the affected area. This process also promotes the growth of new and healthier skin although it may cause coloration and scars around the affected area.

Photodynamic Therapy

Lastly, the doctor can apply a chemical solution that is sensitive to light and apply a special light to the affected area. This process also helps eradicate the affected skin cells but it may cause side effects like swelling, redness, or even a sensation of burning during the therapy.

If you notice symptoms of actinic keratosis in yourself or in someone you know, seek treatment early before the condition is aggravated.

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