Actinic Keratosis

What are they?

Actinic keratoses are pink gritty macules present on sun exposed areas (scalp, face, ears, neck, chest, shoulders, back, arms, hands and legs) that occur because of chronic ultraviolet light damage.

These lesions are scaly and are considered premalignant given that 1 in 100 can turn into a formal skin cancer (Squamous cell carcinoma)


Do they need to be treated?

We recommend treating these lesions as they can become uncomfortable and get bigger and deeper as well as turning into an invasive malignancy.


How are they treated?

There are multiple treatment options and our treatment selection is based on the number of lesions present.

- We often select cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen (freezing) or curettage (scrapping) when the number of lesions is limited

- When there is marked actinic (sun) damage then a field treatment such as photodynamic therapy (PDT), 5-flurouracil cream (Efudex or Carac) or ingenol mebutate (Picato) to treat more extensive areas.

Often times multiple rounds of treatments and combined modalities are recommended, 

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