Scaly Skin: Actinic Keratosis

It’s never comforting to discover a patch of skin that’s different from the surrounding areas. Sometimes it is easy to tell what it is and may go away without extensive treatment, but other times you need the skilled eye of a dermatologist to diagnose and treat it. There are many causes for dry, rough skin, but one that requires dermatological treatment is actinic keratosis.

What is Actinic Keratosis?

Actinic Keratosis is a skin abnormality that manifests as rough, crusty patches of skin from excessive sun exposure. Keratoses typically appear on the face, scalp, neck, hands and other areas most exposed to UV radiation. Spots appear gradually and can even come and go, but they have the potential to progress to skin cancer if left untreated.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pink, red or brownish dry areas that feel rough to the touch
  • Burning, prickling or itching sensation
  • Slightly raised skin

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Dermatologists can diagnose actinic keratosis through physical examinations and skin biopsies, if necessary. There are several treatment methods available for removal:

  • Cryotherapy – Growths are frozen, after which the skin peels and heals
  • Topical medications – a variety of gels and creams are available to treat actinic keratosis
  • Curettage – Growths are scraped off using a curette
  • Photodynamic therapy – A combination of a light-sensitizing solution and a visible light is used to selectively destroy keratoses
  • Chemical peeling – A solution is used to remove the top layer of the skin to expose healthier, new skin
  • Laser resurfacing – A laser is used to remove the outer layers of skin to encourage healthier, new skin growth

If you suspect an abnormality on your skin, seek help from an experienced dermatologist to ease your mind. Old Bridge Dermatology’s Dr. Juan Vaillant has over 30 years of experience in treating all areas of dermatology, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, skin cancer, dandruff, hair loss, age spots, warts, and nail fungus. Dr. Vaillant helps patients achieve stronger, healthier skin, hair, and nails through compassionate individualized care. To schedule an appointment, please call our office in Old Bridge, NJ at (732) 679-0222!