Actinic keratoses are precancerous lesions that occur as a result of cumulative sun exposure. These lesions are most common on the face, scalp and ears of men, chest, and backs of hands, but they can occur anywhere. Initially these lesions may be somewhat transient. When present, they manifest as rough, scaly, sometimes red, flat or minimally elevated growths that feel gritty, like sandpaper. If neglected, these lesions may progress to nonmelanoma skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma). Early intervention can halt disease progression. Furthermore, elimination of these lesions makes the skin appear more healthy and youthful.
These lesions may be treated with a variety of treatments including targeted treatments such as cryosurgery (applying a very cold substance – liquid nitrogen – to the lesion(s) causing destruction of the precancerous cells) or scraping (curettage). For multiple lesions or lesions occurring on diffusely sun damaged skin, a field treatment such as chemical peels, photodynamic therapy or Fraxel® Re:store Dual may be used, providing a dramatically refreshed look and feel to the skin.