Actinic keratoses (AK) are hyperkeratotic erythematous lesions arising on chronically sun-exposed sites. Histology shows dysplasia, although the diagnosis of typical AK is usually made on clinical grounds. They are very common in fair-skinned people who have had significant sun exposure, are often multiple and increase with age. Prevalence is much higher in Australia than in the UK and some surveys have shown a prevalence of more than 50% in those over 40 years old. The rate of progression to SCC is less than 0.1% and spontaneous resolution is possible. However, SCC can also arise de novo and without progression from AK. Increase in size, ulceration, bleeding, pain or tenderness can be indicative of transformation into SCC.
Actinic keratoses vary in appearance. Symptoms include:
- Rough, dry or scaly patch of skin, usually less than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter
- Flat to slightly raised patch or bump on the top layer of skin
- In some cases, a hard, wartlike surface
- Color variations, including pink, red or brown
- Itching, burning, bleeding or crusting
- New patches or bumps on sun-exposed areas of the head, neck, hands and forearms
An actinic keratosis is caused by frequent or intense exposure to UV rays from the sun or tanning beds.
Anyone can develop actinic keratoses. But you're at increased risk if you:
- Have red or blond hair and blue or light-colored eyes
- Have a history of a lot of sun exposure or sunburn
- Tend to freckle or burn when exposed to sunlight
- Are older than 40
- Live in a sunny place
- Work outdoors
- Have a weakened immune system
If treated early, actinic keratosis can be cleared up or removed. If left untreated, some of these spots might progress to squamous cell carcinoma. This is a type of cancer that usually isn't life-threatening if detected and treated early.
Sun safety helps prevent actinic keratoses. Take these steps to protect your skin from the sun:
- Limit your time in the sun.Especially avoid time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. And avoid staying in the sun so long that you get a sunburn or a suntan.
- Use sunscreen.Before spending time outdoors, apply a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, as the American Academy of Dermatology recommends. Do this even on cloudy days.
Use sunscreen on all exposed skin. And use lip balm with sunscreen on your lips. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside and reapply it every two hours — or more often if you're swimming or sweating.
Sunscreen is not recommended for babies under 6 months. Rather, keep them out of the sun if possible. Or protect them with shade, hats, and clothing that covers the arms and legs.
- Cover up.For extra protection from the sun, wear tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs. Also wear a broad-brimmed hat. This provides more protection than does a baseball cap or golf visor.
- Avoid tanning beds.The UV exposure from a tanning bed can cause just as much skin damage as a tan from the sun.
- Check your skin regularly and report changes to your health care provider.Examine your skin regularly, looking for the development of new skin growths or changes in existing moles, freckles, bumps and birthmarks. With the help of mirrors, check your face, neck, ears and scalp. Examine the tops and undersides of your arms and hands.
Homoeopathic treatment requires a deep constitutional analysis. The history of the disease, the family medical history, physical and mental characteristics of the patient, the likes and dislikes, medication details are all taken into consideration. This approach stands in consonance with the homoeopathic convention. Well selected Homoeopathic remedies are effective for Actinic keratosis treatment.
Camphor: Pain better while thinking of it. Persons physically and mentally weak and irritable. Exceedingly sensitive to cold air. Entire body painfully sensitive to slightest touch. Tongue cold, flabby, trembling.
Kali iod.: Flat to slightly raised patch or bump on the top layer of skin. Color variations, including pink, red or brown. Itching, burning, bleeding or crusting. New patches or bumps on sun-exposed areas of the head, neck, hands and forearms.
Staphysagria: Nervous affections with marked irritability, diseases of the genito-urinary tract and skin, most frequently give symptoms calling for this drug. Acts on teeth and alveolar periosteum. Ill effects of anger and insults. Sexual sins and excesses. Very sensitive. Lacerated tissues. Pain and nervousness after extraction of teeth. Sphincters lacerated or stretched. Actinic keratosis of head, ears, face, and body; thick scabs, dry, and itch violently; scratching changes location of itching. Night-sweats.