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Actinic Keratosis   

  Actinic Keratosis (AK), or solar keratosis, is a rough, dry, scaly growth on the skin.  They are caused by UV rays, from excessive sun exposure or tanning beds, which damage the skin.  Therefore, they tend to occur on areas that have receive extensive sun damage, such as the face, scalp, and arms.  Most people have multiple actinic keratoses at once. 

     Actinic keratoses are also known as pre-cancers, because if untreated, actinic keratoses can turn into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.  It is important to have your skin checked by a dermatologist to determine if you have AKs to prevent this from occurring.



Actinic Keratosis Multiple Actinic Keratoses on the Face

There are many treatment options for actinic keratoses:

Cryosurgery- freezing the lesions with liquid nitrogen.  This is the most common method of treatment.

Topical Medications- applied to the skin daily for a varied duration, topical creams can be applied at home to rid the skin of AKs.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)- involves application of a topical medication called Levulan® to the site, then exposing the site to a blue light for approximately 17 minutes. 


For More Information on Actinic Keratosis:


The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD):

The Skin Cancer Foundation:

Dusa Pharmaceuticals-  Click on the link below for information about Photodynamic Therapy (PDT):