Actinic Keratosis, or AKs, are precancerous cells that present as rough, scaly spots on the skin. They are often pink or red, however they may appear as skin-colored or hyper-pigmented. If left untreated, AK’s have the potential to develop into squamous cell carcinoma. Chronic sun exposure is the cause of almost all actinic keratoses. Sun damage to the skin is cumulative, so even a brief period in the sun adds to the lifetime total.
Those who are over the age of 50 tend to experience more actinic keratosis due to years of sun accumulation and damage to the skin. People with a fair complexion, blonde or red hair, light eye color have a higher likelihood of developing a pre-cancer. Ultraviolet radiation given off by tanning beds can be even more dangerous than the sun, so we highly recommend you stay out of the tanning salons.
In order to avoid invasive treatments, Dr. Mejia and Ashley recommend regular skin checks to ensure early treatment. In addition to treating these areas after their diagnosis, our practice has a firm belief that preventative medicine is vital to maintaining overall health. Similar to changing the oil in your car to keep its engine from breaking down, we recommend a regular treatment of the skin with one of our many preventative care medications or in office procedures, in order to keep the incidence of pre-cancers and skin cancers at a minimum
What is Actinic Cheilitis?
Actinic Cheilits is a pre-cancerous lesion that affects the lip. It is often referred to as “solar cheilitis”, “sailors lip” and “farmers lip”. This most commonly starts as a chronic, persistent dry chapping of the lip. These lesions have a higher risk of rapidly turning into squamous cell carcinoma.