Keratosis is one of the many skin conditions that plague society today. It is as a result of the overproduction of keratin which is responsible for skin, nail and hair growth. This will result in hard crusted skin. Keratosis has many forms and one of them is actinic keratosis.
This is a type of keratosis which is characterized by hard spots on the skin. These spots occur after the skin has been exposed to too much sun for long periods of time. The spots can be as small as a pencil tip or as large as an eraser. These spots are usually red in color and have small white or cream tips. This skin condition is very common in people who’ve spent too much time in the sun as their skin will appear wrinkled and sallow.
Normally these spots can be very painful when accidentally touch by fingers or when clothes brush against them. There are other forms of actinic keratosis like cutaneous horns which are growths of the skin that look like horns. Another common form is actinic cheilitis which results in the lower lip looking scaly and rough.
Who is at risk?
With actinic keratosis, anyone can develop this condition. It is however more rampant in individuals with fair skin. The pigment melanin, which gives skin its color, is less found in light skinned people. People of ethnic background are better protected from the sun’s rays because of the large amounts of melanin present in their skin. Lighter skinned individuals who spend a lot of time in the sun without any protection like sunscreen or hats have higher chances of developing this condition. Another group of people who are at risk of developing this condition are people who’ve had organ transplants. During organ transplants, the patient’s immunity level needs to be reduced in order that the donor organ may be accepted by the recipient’s body. This is important as there are cases of some patients’ bodies rejecting the organ causing further complications. It is during this time that such patients have increased chances of developing this skin condition.
This skin condition should be treated promptly as it is premalignant. This means there are positive chances for it to turn into cancer. It becomes difficult trying to differentiate the spots when they’re actinic keratosis or when they’ve become cancerous. This is why any noted spots on the skin should be taken seriously and medical attention sought.