Actinic keratosis is more common among fair-skinned people and those who have had years of outdoor or tanning bed exposure to ultraviolet light. Actinic keratosis can develop into malignant cells, typically squamous cell carcinoma, which is a type of skin cancer. That’s why treatment is important. After a physical examination and biopsy of the lesion, your dermatologist will opt for one of the following treatments to remove the growth:
- Cryosurgery, which freezes off the growth using liquid nitrogen.
- Surgical removal in which the doctor scrapes off the lesion and bleeding is stopped by electrocautery.
- Chemical peels that cause the top layer of skin to peel off.
- Photodynamic therapy in which a dye is applied that sensitizes the skin to light and the area is then exposed to light via a laser or other light source.
- Topical Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) that cause a slow inflammation and peeling; used in more superficial cases.
- Topical Chemotherapeutic agents (5 Fluorouracil, Aldara) can also be used.