Actinic keratoses are a precancerous skin condition. This condition, also known as solar keratoses, most commonly affects fair-skinned, light-haired adults over the age of thirty, but anyone of any age or ethnicity is at risk. While actinic keratoses are very treatable, it is important to identify and diagnose them as soon as possible. If not caught early, the condition can develop into skin cancer.
This condition is most likely to turn into squamous cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer. While it will not transition into melanoma, there is still a risk of chronic illness and, without any treatment, death. If you suspect you have this condition, make an appointment at one of our Minneapolis-area offices. We can diagnose and treat a range of skin lesions.
Actinic Keratoses Causes
Actinic keratoses is primarily caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet light, typically in the form of the sun or tanning beds. Less commonly, cancer-causing agents, called carcinogens, such as radiation and certain chemicals, can also cause actinic keratoses. It is this exposure to ultraviolet light and carcinogens that damages the DNA of epidermal (skin) cells. The DNA damage causes the skin cells to develop and grow abnormally, eventually mutating into precancerous actinic keratoses.
Actinic Keratoses Symptoms
With a practiced eye, actinic keratoses is easily recognizable. It can appear as dry, scaly, rough or crusty patches on the surface of the skin. Color of these patches vary from slightly red, light beige to dark brown and can also vary in size. Sometimes, the lesions can be slightly tender to the touch.
Generally, actinic keratoses affect the face, ears, neck, lips, backs of the hands and forearms. This is because these areas are likely to receive the most exposure to sunlight.
Treatment for Actinic Keratoses
Actinic keratoses will sometimes go away on their own. However, the lesions will usually return after more sun exposure. We do not recommend waiting to see if the lesions disappear, as it can be difficult to know if, and when, they develop into skin cancer. If you suspect you have actinic keratoses on your skin, make an appointment with us.
Actinic keratoses can be successfully resolved by several different treatments. This most often includes topical medications, like Diclofenac, 5-flurorouracil, Imiquimod, and Ingenol mebutate. All of these medications require a doctor’s prescription.
This condition also responds well to cryotherapy, wherein a physician freezes off the precancerous tissue, similar to freezing off a wart. Light therapy, also known as photodynamic therapy, has also been successful at removing these lesions, as has laser therapy. Talk to your doctor about the treatment option that will work best for you.
When to See a Skin Care Specialist
If you suspect you have this condition, don’t wait to schedule your appointment. While actinic keratoses are not dangerous on their own, they are the most common form of precancerous skin lesion. The majority of squamous cell carcinoma begins as this type of lesion, so receiving early treatment is critical.
If you’re curious about whether you have this condition, we recommend scheduling a routine skin cancer check at one of our offices. A total body exam is an excellent way to catch skin cancers in their earliest stages. During this exam, we can diagnose precancerous tissues and cancer. Even if we don’t find anything, you’ll leave with the peace of mind of knowing you are free of skin cancer.
Contact us to schedule an appointment or virtual visit today.
*Results may vary per patient. Services vary by location.
Zel Skin & Laser Specialists – Plymouth ★★★★★ on Google
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Dr. Zelickson is thorough and patiently attentive to my concerns. Such a great practice and so easy to deal with. A great emphasis on safety during this pandemic which I really appreciate.
Brian brings a unique combination of medical science, clinical expertise, integrity and compassion to his patients. He provides the latest technology available in the field of dermatology but with a personalized touch for each patient. He is highly respected by his colleagues throughout the country for his expertise and sincerity.
Everyone I have met at Zel is amazing!
It is rare to find a dermatologist who is as knowledgeable about the many facets of clinical and cosmetic dermatology as Dr. Zelickson. Because of his knowledge and honesty, doctors worldwide know they can depend on his assessment of new therapies, procedures and medical devices. This, in turn, has made him a much sought–after speaker for the plethora of professional medical society meetings and engagements that we have throughout the year. I am honored to know Dr. Zelickson and consider him a friend to the profession.
Dr. Brian Zelickson was one of our initial Thermage investigators and helped us understand the mechanisms of non–invasive skin tightening. He is a renowned expert on how collagen can affect skin tightening and wrinkle reduction.
Dr. Brian Zelickson is one of this country’s leading laser experts. Not only is he unparalleled as a laser surgeon, it is not an exaggeration to state that his superb research helps determine the future of dermatologic laser surgery.
Dr. Zelickson is a highly regarded skin/light expert in our industry. When Candela looks for both medical and scientific advice for new laser applications, we often turn to him for his counsel. The input he provides us always starts with patient safety and satisfaction. We feel fortunate to be able to tap into Brian as an independent resource. The patients who are treated with Candela devices are often the beneficiaries of Brian’s input to us.
Most patients prefer seeing a doctor who is known for a particular specialty or procedure, but all patients want to see the doctor who invented the procedure or therapy. Dr. Brian Zelickson is one of the most respected physicians in the field of cosmetic dermatology and aesthetic medicine. He has lectured around the world and is one of the most sought–after speakers for all major meetings in dermatology.
I would rate Dr. Zelickson's clinic 10 stars!
We have felt honored to have Dr. Brian Zelickson, a world–renowned dermatologist who is distinguished as a high–quality care physician, serving as the investigator evaluating Syneron non–invasive skin tightening technology
I trained with Dr. Zelickson at Mayo Clinic, and I found him to be a very bright and creative dermatologist and scientist. Later, he was our best advisor when we set up our clinic in the Basque Country in Spain. I call him the ‘paparazzi of dermatology.’ His contribution to our speciality is probably among the best of this century.
Tuve la suerte de conocer al Dr. Brian Zelickson en Minneapolis hace muchos anos y desde entonces acudo regularmente a compartir sus conocimientos. Es un científico honrado, brillante, creativo e innovador. Nunca deja de sorprenderte agradablemente.
Dr. Zelickson is a very well–respected dermatologist, not only in the U.S., but also in Europe. He is famous for being the author of relevant dermatological studies published in many prestigious medical journals and for the improvements he’s made on minimally invasive cosmetic procedures that are being used by dermatologists all over the world.
Our view from Europe of Dr. Brian Zelickson is that he is one of the leading four or five U.S. laser dermatologists. His research contributions, his superb lectures and his expert knowledge of laser skin surgery make him a valued friend, colleague and guest.
Dr. Brian Zelickson is one of the world’s leaders in cutaneous laser surgery. He has performed groundbreaking research over the past decade, advancing the field as well as expertly providing the most up–to–date laser treatments for his patients.
Brian Zelickson is a world–renowned laser expert who helps develop the lasers and treatment parameters used by the rest of the world. He is where others turn to learn the latest techniques in laser surgery. If you want the best treatment available, delivering the best results in the safest environment available, there is no need to look anywhere else.
I have met many laser experts in my 20 years of teaching, lecturing and running a busy practice. There is no one who I respect more than Brian. If I have a clinical question or research idea, Brian is one of the few individuals I call, as I know I can count on his intellect, integrity and common sense.
Dr. Zelickson is one of America’s most knowledgeable laser experts. He has done pioneering work with many of the laser and light–based technologies developed in the world over the last 10 years. He is a giant in the field.
Dr. Zelickson is one of the world’s leaders in the field of lasers for the treatment of the skin. His many years experience in treating thousands of patients with lasers and other medical devices makes him one of the most sought–after doctors in this field. Innovation and caring are his trademarks.