What Is Actinic Keratosis? Its Causes, Symptoms And Home Remedies

Actinic keratosis is a skin condition where scaly red lesions appear on the skin due to overexposure to the sun. This condition often occurs in light-skinned people who also have a liking to spending long hours in the sun. Actinic keratosis literally means scaly growth or keratosis caused due to exposure to the sun or actinic. It is also sometimes referred to as solar keratosis.

These lesions can appear on your face, lips, ears, and back of your hands, forearms, neck or scalp. The lesions can take up to a year to form properly and become visible.

UV damage to skin is very dangerous and often not immediately visible. It affects the thin epidermis in irreversible ways. Often you might see the effect only in later years of life. Just direct sunlight is not the worry. Even tanning booths tend to cause, as much, if not more damage to your skin.

This condition also includes a health risk of these lesions turning cancerous. This skin condition can progress to squamous cell carcinoma if not treated early on.

Light skin and UV exposure is not the only cause for actinic keratosis.

You also stand a chance to get actinic keratosis.

  • If you have recently had a kidney transplant or any other organ transplant
  • If you are on immune-suppressants
  • You work outdoors
  • If you have a history of sunburns or even skin cancer

Symptoms Of Actinic Keratosis

The symptoms of actinic keratosis are:

  • Skin discoloration and change in texture – the skin will become gray and scaly while the color might change to gray or pink.
  • The lesions could develop a scaly, crusty edge.
  • It could also become wart-like.
  • Itching and a burning sensation are felt in some cases.

If any of your lesions burn, bleeds, oozes or start flaking, it is time to seek professional medical help.

This is true even if even if the lesion changes size very rapidly.

Home Remedies For Actinic Keratosis

The treatment will depend on when the skin growths are brought to your doctor’s attention. If it is not cancerous, then your doctor will try treatments like cryotherapy, laser or electricity to scrape away the growth or even chemical peels. Topical creams containing fluorouracil can also help.

There are home remedies but these should be tried with a fair amount of caution. Most doctors do not recommend that you try removing actinic keratosis with home remedies.

  • One is apple cider vinegar. Pour a little or dab a little on your keratosis. This remedy might burn keratosis and if you feel your skin getting inflamed you might want to discontinue immediately.
  • Over-the-counter glycolic acid treatments also reduce these growths.

Prevention is the best treatment. Cover up and liberally apply sun screen when outdoors. Choose a sunscreen that is high in sun protection factor (SPF) as well as UVA and UVB light. Try and stay out of the sun when it is at the hottest. Hydrate and reapply sunscreen every two-three hours when outdoors. Avoid tanning bed and sun lamps.

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