An actinic keratosis, or solar keratosis, is a small, crusty or scaly reddish or tan bump that arises on or beneath the surface of the skin. Although they are not cancerous, left untreated they can sometimes be the first step leading to squamous cell carcinoma. One of the most common skin conditions observed among people age 40-60 years old, an actinic keratosis generally develops in areas that have been exposed to years of damage by the sun, and usually appears on the face (including the earls and lips) as well as the neck, arms and hands. They often start out as scaly, thick, crusty skin patches that are usually about the size of a small pencil eraser, but may range in size from a pinpoint to several centimeters in diameter.
Actinic keratoses can be treated in various ways, and a specific treatment plan is based on different factors in each case – including where the actinic keratosis is located, its size and the overall health and age of the patient.) Some of the treatment options we offer include spraying/freezing the lesion so that it scabs over and falls off (known as cryotherapy), phototherapy with intense laser light, and topical medications.
When it comes to actinic keratoses, early diagnosis and early treatment by a board-certified dermatologist is key. When treated early, almost all actinic keratoses can be eliminated before becoming skin cancer, so it’s important to consult with a dermatologist as soon as you notice any potential signs of an actinic keratosis. For more information about diagnosing and treating actinic keratoses, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ros and her team by calling us at either our North Bergen office at (201) 255-4046 or our Clifton office at (973) 472-1000, or email us.