What is Actinic Keratosis?

Actinic keratosis is a rough, scaly area on your skin that develops from years of exposure to the sun. It most commonly occurs on sun-exposed areas of the face, ears, lips, backs of the hands, forearms, neck, and scalp. These patches grow slowly and usually cause no signs or symptoms other than a small spot on your skin. Left untreated, there is a small percentage of actinic keratoses can grow to become squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.

Signs and symptoms of actinic keratosis include:

  • Dry, scaly patches of skin, commonly less than 1 inch in diameter.
  • Flat or slightly raised areas or bumps on the top layer of skin.
  • Pink, red, or brown areas of skin.
  • In some cases, a hard, wartlike surface.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or have an area of skin that changes in colour or size, or begins to itch or bleed, inquire at DermAtelier on Avenue how to arrange a skin exam and assessment.

Actinic Keratosis Treatment Options


There is a selection of prescription products that can be applied to the skin to treat several actinic keratoses. These include Fluorouracil cream, Fluoruracil-Salicylic acid combination cream, and Imiquimod cream.  These are administered at-home under the guidance of Dr. Beach

Surgical/Other Procedures

Cryotherapy: Actinic keratoses can be removed by freezing them off with liquid nitrogen. Dr. Beach will apply this substance to the affected area of skin, which causes redness, swelling, scabbing, peeling, and sometimes blistering. The skin will then heal over time, and the lesion will fall off, allowing new skin to surface. 

Curettage: During this procedure, local anesthetic is administered, and Dr. Beach will use a special device called a curette to scrape off the damaged cells of the actinic keratosis. 

Who is a Good Candidate for Actinic Keratosis Treatment?

Individuals who are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above or those who have been diagnosed with actinic keratosis can benefit from actinic keratosis treatment. The best way to determine if you are a good candidate is to schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Beach. 

What to Expect After Actinic Keratosis Treatment?

Required downtime following your actinic keratosis treatment will depend on the form of treatment that was performed. However, most patients require little to no downtime. Be sure to follow Dr. Beach’s specific recovery instructions for the best possible outcomes.

It is also important that you take the proper steps to keep your skin healthy and protected from the sun. Be sure to limit your time in the sun during peak hours (10 a.m- 4 p.m), use sunscreen during all months, avoid tanning beds, and cover up with sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat when spending time out in the sun.

Contact Us Today

If you would like to learn more about actinic keratosis treatment options, contact DermAtelier on Avenue today. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.



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