What is Actinic Keratosis, and How Can You Deal With It?

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The skin is one of the most exposed organs of the human body. This is because it’s exposed to various environmental stressors, from sun ultraviolet rays to air pollutants. Over time, this exposure can take a toll on the skin, causing damage that manifests as wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of aging. One common condition that can develop due to too much sun exposure is actinic keratosis.

Not many people know about this particular skin disorder, but it happens to millions of Americans. Here’s what you need to know about actinic keratosis and how to deal with it.

What is Actinic Keratosis?

The sun is good for the skin, but not all the time. Actinic keratosis is a condition that results from too much sun exposure. The damage from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays causes changes in the skin cells, which can lead to the development of actinic keratosis.

These growths are usually small, rough, and scaly patches on the skin. They’re most commonly found in areas with a lot of sun exposure, such as the face, lips, ears, neck, chest, hands, and forearms. Actinic keratosis can also develop on the legs, but this is less common.

While actinic keratosis are not cancerous, they can become cancerous if left untreated. Actinic keratosis are considered precancerous because they have the potential to turn into squamous cell skin cancer.

What Causes Actinic Keratosis?

As we mentioned, actinic keratosis are caused by damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays. But this doesn’t only happen under sunlight; artificial light sources, such as tanning beds, can also cause this disorder.

Other things that may cause the skin disorder or make it worse include:

  • Fair skin
  • A history of sunburns
  • A weakened immune system

Comorbidities of Actinic Keratosis

Many skin disorders are comorbid with other skin disorders. But actinic keratosis isn’t like many other skin disorders. This particular skin disorder is known to be comorbid with dangerous diseases such as heart disease.

A person experiencing a heart attack

Heart Disease

A recent study has found that heart disease is the most common comorbidity of actinic keratosis. In addition, the study found that people who have it are more likely to develop heart disease than those without the condition.

The link between actinic keratoses and heart disease is still not fully understood. Still, it’s believed that the inflammation caused by the disorder may play a role in the development of heart disease.

Cancer

Many diseases such as cancer have been known to be caused by exposure to the sun. So it’s no wonder that actinic keratosis can also lead to cancer. In addition, the disorder is considered precancerous because they have the potential to turn into squamous cell skin cancer.

Squamous cell skin cancer is the second most common type of skin cancer. It’s a dangerous form of skin cancer that can be deadly if not treated early.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is another comorbidity of actinic keratosis. The link between the two diseases is still not fully understood. Still, it’s believed that the inflammation caused by the skin disorder may play a role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

How to Treat Actinic Keratosis

The good news is that actinic keratosis are highly treatable. Many treatment options are available, and the best treatment will depend on the individual case. The best way of treating any disorder or disease is through prevention, and you can prevent it through sunscreen.

Use Sunscreen

The best way to prevent actinic keratosis is to use sunscreen. Choosing a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is essential and provides broad-spectrum protection.

You should apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, including the face, neck, ears, hands, and arms. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours or more if you’re swimming or sweating.

Repair Your Skin Barrier

If you want to further prevent actinic keratosis, it’s essential to repair your skin barrier. The skin barrier is the outermost layer of the skin that protects against environmental damage and keeps moisture in.

Many things can damage the skin barrier, such as sun exposure, pollution, and harsh chemicals. When the skin barrier is damaged, it leads to dryness, irritation, and inflammation.

You can repair your skin barrier through the use of skincare products. You can buy a barrier repair serum online. These serums can make your skin highly resistant to damage, significantly preventing the disorder.

The bottom line is that actinic keratosis is a severe skin disorder that can lead to dangerous diseases, but the good news is that it’s highly treatable. The best way to prevent actinic keratosis is through sunscreen and repairing your skin barrier.

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