Actinic keratoses (AK) are potential precancerous skin lesions. They occur as a consequence of cumulative low grade sun exposure over many years. They form not just from intentional suntanning but from “everyday” sunshine, i.e walking to your car, the brief stroll with the dog in the neighbourhood, the sun that goes through the windshield when you drive etc.

AKs can occur anywhere on the body, but are most commonly found on the face, neck, forearms and the backs of the hand – i.e. the sun exposed parts of the body. AKs look like a patch of dry skin. Treatment of AKs is necessary as they commonly transform into squamous cell carcinoma. The treatment options are varied but include liquid nitrogen, surgical excision, topical medications (5-fluorouracil, imiquimod) as well as medium-deep skin peels (e.g, trichloroacetic acid) and photodynamic therapy. If you think you may have actinic keratoses, please book an appointment.

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