Actinic keratosis or solar keratosis is a skin disorder that causes lesions that are mostly pink to appear on the skin. These lesions are normally painful and sore and are also crusty and scaly. This type of keratosis is acquired through over exposure to the sun over the years. Indoor tanning can also lead to this type of keratosis and therefore, you should regulate just how frequent you visit a tanning booth.
Actinic keratosis can appear to anyone at any age. It all depends on how much you have been exposed to the sun. Most types of keratosis are not harmful and only require treatment for cosmetic reasons. This is not the case for actinic keratosis. Lesions that result from this type of keratosis are mostly precancerous and the earlier they are detected, the better.
As much as actinic keratosis is precancerous, not all of these keratoses develop into cancer. Knowing this fact, you have a reason to relax but don’t take chances. Cancer is a terminal illness and so you should see a dermatologist for professional medical help.
Actinic keratosis is very likely to develop into squamous cell carcinoma – a type of skin cancer; they never turn to melanoma which is a very serious skin cancer. Melanoma may nevertheless affect people with actinic keratosis as they have more skin damage from the sun than other people making them more prone to it.
You are more at risk of acquiring this type of keratosis if you have a fair skin and spend so much time in the sun. Although the effect is not rapid, actinic keratosis will begin showing itself after some years.
In conclusion, you have seen how actinic keratosis can lead to cancer and therefore, yes, it is dangerous. Ensure that you always do self-examination on your skin and if you notice any unusual patches on the skin, rush to your dermatologist and have it attended to as early as possible. When this type of keratosis is detected in its early stages, the malignant lesions will be removed and you will not be at risk of any form of skin cancer. Stay safe by always using good sunscreen when you are out in the sun and avoid tanning as much as possible. Should you be taking any antibiotics, hypertension drugs, diabetes drugs or birth control pills, please have minimum interaction with the sun as these medications make the skin more sensitive to the sun.