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Actinic Keratosis (AK)

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Actinic Keratosis (AK)

Personalized. Professional. Proven.

Actinic Keratosis

What is Actinic Keratosis?

Also referred to as solar keratosis, actinic keratosis (AK) is a common skin condition characterized by rough, scaly, sandpaper-like patches of skin. 

Though actinic keratosis is classified as a precancerous skin condition, it is typically harmless and not a form of skin cancer. However, actinic keratosis does pose a small risk of turning into skin cancer, mainly squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which is why it’s important to detect, diagnose, and treat it as early as possible. 

If you have noticed a rough, dry patch of skin or a small area on your body that feels a little like sandpaper, and it refuses to go away no matter how much lotion or moisturizer you apply, it might be actinic keratosis! 

This common skin condition is one we treat often at Cumberland Skin, so our board-certified dermatologists are highly experienced in identifying, diagnosing, and treating actinic keratosis.


Actinic Keratosis FAQs

Learn more about actinic keratosis and how we treat this skin condition at Cumberland Skin. Our board-certified dermatologists answer the most common questions regarding actinic keratosis and AK treatment in Hendersonville, TN.

Actinic keratosis is primarily caused by years of frequent, unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, such as those from the sun or tanning beds. This unprotected exposure causes irreparable skin damage, triggering the formation of actinic keratoses (AKs).

Actinic keratosis most often shows up as a small spot of scaly skin or dry, crusty patches that may feel similar to sandpaper. At Cumberland Skin, our dermatologists often find that actinic keratoses are easier to feel, rather than see. When examining your skin for actinic keratosis, here are a few key things to look and feel for:

  • Sandpaper-like texture (rough, dry, scaly, or sometimes crusty).
  • The skin is colored pink, red, or gray.
  • A patch of skin that is the size of a pencil eraser sized or a larger, quarter-sized patch.
  • An area of skin that may be raised or flat.

Actinic keratosis generally shows up on sun-exposed skin, such as on the face, scalp, ears, lips, neck, forearms, and back of hands. 

However, it’s important to understand that it can appear on any part of the body, so make sure to keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms of actinic keratosis when performing your monthly self-exam of the skin.

Yes, actinic keratosis and seborrheic keratosis are different. Seborrheic keratosis is a completely harmless, noncancerous skin growth that does not require treatment, whereas actinic keratosis is a form of precancer that has the potential to turn into skin cancer. This is why immediate treatment for actinic keratosis is important for skin cancer prevention.

No, actinic keratosis is not cancer, but it is a form of precancer. This means that an actinic keratosis poses a small risk of turning into skin cancer, mainly squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which is why it’s important to detect and treat actinic keratosis as early as possible.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is one method of treating actinic keratosis. It uses a light-sensitizing topical agent followed by a blue or red light to kill and eliminate the cancer cells.

At Cumberland Skin, we use three methods to treat actinic keratosis – cryotherapy, topical treatments, and photodynamic therapy. 

Which method our dermatologists use depends on a few factors – the amount of actinic keratoses (AKs), their location, the severity of the skin condition, whether or not the patient has a previous skin cancer history, and any other medical conditions he or she may have.

To learn more about Cumberland Skin’s actinic keratosis treatment, please get in touch with one of our friendly board-certified dermatologists today. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about actinic keratosis and our treatment methods!


Actinic Keratosis Photos

If you’re unsure of how actinic keratosis may show up on the skin, take a look at the actinic keratosis pictures below to get a better understanding of this skin condition. And if you have any additional questions, please reach out to the board-certified dermatologists at Cumberland Skin!


Schedule Actinic Keratosis Treatment in Hendersonville, TN

If you are showing any of the actinic keratosis symptoms mentioned above, or any sign of an unusual skin condition, we urge you to make an appointment with a professional dermatologist today for a thorough skin evaluation and treatment. 

Schedule an actinic keratosis consultation and treatment in Hendersonville, Tennessee, by requesting an appointment online or by calling 615-824-7491.  

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Have questions or concerns? Please call us at 615-824-7491

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