Common Precancerous Skin Conditions
Though few lesions related to actinic keratosis turn into squamous cell skin cancer, this precancerous skin condition should be reviewed and treated with the latest Boardman dermatology methods used at Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center.
Causes & Symptoms Of Actinic Keratosis
Actinic keratosis is caused by long-term exposure to the sun and UV rays and is usually found in patients age 40 or older. This precancerous skin condition is generally found on areas of the body commonly exposed to the sun, such as the ears, face, forearms, hands, and neck. While anyone can develop actinic keratoses, the likelihood of development increases with a combination of environmental and personal factors, such as those who:
- Live in a sunny environment or have experienced frequent and/or intense sunburns in the past.
- Have blond or red-colored hair and blue or light-colored eyes; and
- Have a tendency to freckle and/or burn when exposed to the sun;
Common symptoms of actinic keratosis are:
- A small patch of dry, rough, and/or scaly skin, usually less than one inch in diameter;
- The patch is flat or slightly raised on the top skin layer; and
- The color of the patch is varied between brown, pink, and red and may burn or itch.
If you discover any of these symptoms during a routine self-skin examination, contact Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center to schedule a consultation.
How To Prevent Actinic Keratosis
You can prevent the development of actinic keratosis by:
- Avoiding indoor tanning beds;
- Minimizing sun exposure by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and clothing that covers the arms and legs;
- Applying sunscreen to all exposed skin before going outside and reapplying every two hours; and
- Telling your Boardman dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology of any changes to your skin.
Treatment For Actinic Keratosis
Some actinic keratoses disappear without medical treatment but most reappear with chronic sun exposure. Most actinic keratoses are treated and removed as a precaution.
A dermatologist in Boardman may use a variety of methods for actinic keratosis treatment, such as topical medications, photodynamic therapy, cryotherapy, and curettage.
Also called squamous cell carcinoma in situ, Bowen’s disease is predominantly found in white men over age 60. It mostly affects the epidermis or upper layer of the skin.
Suspected Causes & Common Symptoms Of Bowen’s Disease
The precise cause of Bowen’s disease is unknown but this precancerous skin condition is generally linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV); long-term sun exposure or use of tanning beds; and a weakened immune system.
The most prevalent symptom of Bowen’s disease is a patch of skin with clear edges that doesn’t heal over time. The patch of skin is pink or red in color and has a crusty or scaly texture. It appears most often on areas of the body frequently exposed to the sun, such as the top of the head and lower leg region. Most patients with Bowen’s disease have one patch of affected skin, but it’s possible to have more than one at a time.
Treatment For Bowen’s Disease
A biopsy is generally performed to diagnose Bowen’s disease. If the condition is discovered, a range of sun damage skin treatments can be used for treatment, such as medicated topical ointments, curettage, cryotherapy, and photodynamic therapy. Your dermatologist will determine whether follow-up treatment is required to treat the condition.
How To Prevent Bowen’s Disease
Prevention focuses on reducing sun exposure and always applying — and reapplying — sunscreen when spending time outdoors. A dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center can also provide tips and information specific to your situation.
What Is Considered Sun Damage?
Sun damage encompasses a wide range of changes to the skin caused by exposure to UV rays and the sun. These changes can affect all skin layers, including the epidermis, or top layer; dermis, or middle layer; and subcutaneous fat, or bottom layer.
Causes & Symptoms Of Sun Damage
Sun damage is primarily caused by prolonged exposure to UV radiation, either from the sun or an artificial source, such as indoor tanning beds. Areas of the body exposed to the sun are likely to experience:
- Fine lines and deep-set wrinkles;
- Thickened skin texture; and
Treatment For Sun Damage
Over-the-counter, anti-aging creams and ointments can help reduce the appearance of minor sun damage. For patients with more severe sun damage, your Boardman dermatologist may recommend one or more of the following types of treatment.
- Botox: An injectable treatment that temporarily paralyzes targeted muscles and prevents the muscles from becoming furrowed or wrinkled.
- Chemical peels: Chemicals applied directly to the skin remove the epidermis layer to stimulate skin regeneration and improvement in the skin’s appearance.
- Laser skin resurfacing: The epidermis is cauterized with a laser to reduce the appearance of fine lines, scars, and wrinkles.
- Soft tissue fillers: This type of treatment replaces the skin’s natural collagen lost due to sun damage.
How To Prevent Sun Damage
Most sun damage can be prevented by following these steps and other sun damage prevention methods recommended by your dermatologist in Boardman with Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center.
- Always apply sunscreen before going outdoors or being exposed to the sun.
- Limit the amount of time spent outside when sun intensity is at its highest, usually between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day.
- Wear clothing that covers your skin, such as long sleeve shirts and pants, when outdoors and sunglasses with UV protection and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Be aware of certain prescription medications that can increase the skin’s susceptibility to sun damage.
Precancerous Skin Treatments In Boardman, OH
If you’ve been diagnosed with a precancerous skin condition, such as actinic keratosis or Bowen’s disease, prompt treatment is crucial to stopping the development of skin cancer. Our team uses the latest tools and techniques to diagnose and treat precancerous and cancerous skin conditions for patients of all ages. To learn more about precancerous skin treatments in Boardman, OH, and our individually tailored skin care treatments, contact Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center today.