Actinic keratosis (AK) is one of the most common precancerous lesions. Sometimes called solar keratosis, these rough, scaly, dry patches develop due to excess UV exposure. These growths often appear in multiples, pluralized as actinic keratoses. If you have similar growths, it’s always best to have them examined by one of Skin & Beauty Center’s qualified dermatologists.
How Long Does It Take for Actinic Keratosis to Become Cancerous?
AK is often benign, but in approximately 10% of cases, it develops into squamous cell carcinoma. This typically takes about two years after the patch appears. While that might sound scary, AK’s slower progression is actually good news.
Getting an annual skin cancer screening at Skin & Beauty Center (or more often if you have certain risk factors) ensures our providers can detect any precancerous lesions early and treat them promptly.
What Are Some Common Actinic Keratoses Signs?
AKs can vary in appearance, but you might notice:
- Scaly, dry, and rough skin patches typically less than an inch in diameter.
- A hard, wartlike surface.
- Pink, red, brown, or white color variations.
- A slightly raised patch or bump (though AKs can be flat).
- Uncomfortable crusting, burning, itching, or bleeding.
AKs typically appear on the head, neck, forearms, and hands. However, they can grow in any area. They’re often mistaken for other skin conditions, so visiting one of our knowledgeable providers is essential for a diagnosis.
What Is the Best Actinic Keratoses Treatment?
It’s important to receive AK treatment to lower your skin cancer risk. Fortunately, there are several effective options, including:
- Cryotherapy: AKs can often be removed with liquid nitrogen.
- Laser therapy: An ablative device can eliminate patches, allowing new skin to grow.
- Scraping: Also called curettage, this procedure involves our provider manually removing AKs with a curet. A local anesthetic prevents discomfort.
- Photodynamic therapy: During this treatment, a light-sensitive chemical solution is applied, then a light device destroys the affected cells.
Schedule a Skin Cancer Screening for Actinic Keratosis
If you suspect you have AK or other atypical skin growths, schedule a screening at the Skin & Beauty Center by calling 818-842-8000. With our seven locations in Burbank, Northridge, Glendale, Verdugo Hills, West Hills, Santa Clarita, and Pasadena, California, it’s never been more convenient to have healthy skin and peace of mind.