Actinic Keratosis – Is It Something To Worry About?

Actinic Keratosis is also known as solar keratosis and is usually a condition that one suffers by getting too overexposed to the harmful ultraviolet radiation of the sun. Its characteristics are dry skin that occurs or forms in patches that are not uniform, with these areas being either colored or discolored and such areas can further become solid like warts or growths with horn like structures.

Too much exposure to the sun will directly cause this kind of keratosis and the condition will mostly be seen in the surfaces of the skin that which are more exposed to the sun. Areas that can get affected include the face, the back of the hand, the ears and sometimes even the bald spots on the scalp. In some cases there are occurrences on the chest or even on the back. This condition also predominantly affects people with fair skin and its occurrence in people of darker skin is quite infrequent.

Abrasions or hardened patches of skin will begin to come into sight on the sun damaged skin and will be restricted to one area or will spread in numbers and magnitude. Countries near the equator that experience weather that is sunny will have high incidences of actinic keratosis and people who work outdoors and sports fans are more susceptible to the condition while men are more vulnerable to it than women and that is why outdoor professional men suffer more from it.

With age, there is also an increased chanceance of developing keratoses. There is a cumulative damage factor as far as ultraviolet rays are concerned and this happens over the years thus increasing the chances that one can get actinic keratosis in middle aged people. The damage caused by the sun can thus be experienced by the young as well as the old.

Though this is not a life threatening condition, it is deemed pre-cancerous which means it can become complicated and develop into skin cancer or Squamous Cell Carcinoma and it is best to seek medical advice soonest possible. Medication as well as surgery or a mix of both can cure actinic keratosis and it is best to get the doctor’s advice on the best treatment method in consideration with one’s specific condition, age, skin cancer history, and allergies. Treatment may result in disfiguration of skin in some patients and reconstructive surgery may be the only option when all symptoms have been surgically removed.

To prevent this condition from occurring, minimize sun exposure by using good sunscreen and avoid midday sun exposure. Wearing clothes which provide additional sun protection like wide brimmed hats, long sleeved shirts or blouses and long skirts or trousers is a good idea. While this is a condition that can be reversed by medication, it is best to take precautions and avoid the condition completely or if you have already gone through the condition, avoid recurrence because it is better to play safe with a condition like cancer which actinic keratosis might ultimately lead to.

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