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Actinic keratosis

Posted on2021-05-03 by

Solar keratosis (Actinic keratosis, actinic, senile keratosis) is a precancerous skin condition that develops in people with fair skin under the influence of sunlight, certain chemicals, and drugs containing arsenic.

Course of actinic keratosis

What are the signs of actinic keratosis and how does it appear? When exposed to an excessive amount of sunlight in the skin, connective tissue grows, it thickens, and nodules or raised red-brown spots appear on the surface. The nodules are irregular or round, pink, grayish, or tan. Their surface is often flaky. Some patients experience itching or burning at the same time. Nodules and spots, as a rule, are small - 1-3 mm, often collected in groups. Actinic keratosis develops only on exposed areas of the skin, which are directly affected by the sun's rays.

From the photo in the gallery, you can see that with actinic keratosis, there is a thickening of the skin and the appearance of age spots.

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis

Who is more susceptible to developing actinic keratosis?

People with thin, fair skin have an increased risk of developing actinic keratosis. Such skin usually does not tan well and turns red quickly in the sun. If you have thin skin, red, light or light blond hair, and light eyes, it means that there is little melanin in your body and you are more susceptible to the development of actinic keratosis. Conversely, people with dark skin who tan quickly when exposed to sunlight have a lower risk of developing this disease.

Actinic keratosis is especially common in people who, due to their profession, are exposed to solar radiation. This applies to farmers, builders, sailors. Similarly, those living in tropical latitudes, as well as living in the mountains, have a greater risk of developing actinic keratosis. Individuals undergoing treatment with immunosuppressive drugs or hormonal drugs are also at higher risk of developing the disease.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, among those predisposed to the development of the disease, about 60% over the age of 60 have manifestations of actinic keratosis. Moreover, men suffer more often. The prevalence of this disease increases with age, which is explained by the increase in total solar exposure. However, younger people are also at risk of developing actinic keratosis, with more and more cases in their 20s and 30s lately.

If you have any of the listed risk factors, try to avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight. Wearing long sleeves, using sunscreen and lotions, and getting regular skin examinations will reduce the chances of developing the disease and help your skin stay healthy for longer.

As already mentioned, actinic keratosis is a precancerous disease. According to research, every fifth case ends with the development of skin cancer. Therefore, if you experience the symptoms described above, see your doctor, even if you think you are feeling great. Rapid growth of nodules, thickening of the skin, redness or ulceration indicate a possible transformation of the disease into cancer. In this case, you will have to undergo a skin biopsy for a definitive diagnosis.

Treatment of actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis is very successfully treated today with surgical methods (read about it in the article "Treatment of solar keratosis"). The latest achievement of medical science is immunostimulants that help the body to fight the disease on its own. So, Imiquimod (Aldara) increases the activity of the immune system, increases the level of anticancer proteins - interferons, and in four to five weeks the skin is completely healed.

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