Actinic Keratosis Specialist

Texas Skin Center

Dermatology Clinic located in Pearland, Houston, & Kingwood, TX

Each year, nearly 420,000 cases of skin cancer in the United States are linked to damage from indoor tanning. This damage often appears in the form of actinic keratosis, a precursor to skin cancer. At Texas Skin Center, with three locations in Houston, Pearland, and Kingwood, Texas, Joseph Sedrak, MD, is a highly skilled dermatologist with more than 10 years of experience diagnosing and treating actinic keratosis and different types of skin cancer. Dr. Sedrak also has fellowship training in Mohs surgery — the most successful skin cancer treatment. Call to schedule an exam today, or use the online booking tool.

Actinic Keratosis Q & A

What is actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis (AK), is a scaly growth on your skin that is the result of sun damage. Harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial tanning beds can lead to actinic keratosis, or precancer. If left untreated, AK can become skin cancer, and it usually turns into squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

Actinic keratosis is the most common type of precancerous skin lesions. They often appear on the most sun-exposed areas, such as:

  • Face
  • Scalp
  • Ears
  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Arms and hands

You can also get an AK on your legs, especially if you spend a lot of time in the sun or under artificial UV light.

What does actinic keratosis look like?

Actinic keratosis lesions often appear as very small skin lesions that you can feel before you see. AKs feel like sandpaper to the touch and develop slowly. Occasionally they itch or become inflamed. In rare instances, an actinic keratosis may bleed.

Signs that you may have AKs on your skin include:

  • Scattered, thick, scaly patches of red skin on the back of your hand
  • Red, crusty bumps on your forehead and scalp
  • A sore on your lip
  • Crusty bumps on your ear or cheek
  • Silver, white, or red lesions on your hands
  • Small, round bumps on your face or neck

The color of AKs can vary from red, brown, pink, and white, and sometimes look like a hard, raised wart.

How does a dermatologist treat actinic keratosis?

Since AKs are hard to identify, it’s important to have any areas of concern checked out. If Dr. Sedrak discovers one or more actinic keratosis lesion on your skin, he may recommend an in-office procedure or at-home treatment based on your individual circumstances. Treatment for AKs may include:

  • Cryotherapy to freeze away visible AKs
  • Chemical peels to remove the top layer of unhealthy skin
  • Laser skin resurfacing to remove the outermost layer of skin and destroy AK cells
  • Curettage to remove visible AKs surgically
  • Photodynamic therapy that uses a special solution and light to destroy unhealthy skin cells
  • Topical prescription medications and creams to slowly eliminate AKs

Areas of actinic keratosis often clear with treatment, so it’s important to address them before they become skin cancer.

For a thorough skin cancer screening and diagnosis of actinic keratosis, call the Texas Skin Center closest to you or use the online booking tool.