Actinic hyperkeratosis

by Dr. Yiannis Neofytou

Actinic hyperkeratosis, also known as solar hyperkeratosis, is a form of abnormal growth of skin cells. It is the most common skin lesion due to long-term exposure to the sun, with the skin becoming rough and dry. Skin lesions usually appear at points that are repeatedly exposed to sunlight. Such spots are the bald head, the face, the ears, the lips (actinic cheilitis), the dorsal surfaces of the hands, the arms and the neck. Actinic hyperkeratoses grow slowly in size, from a few millimeters to a few centimeters in diameter. They are often recognizable by touch due to the roughness of the surface (looks like sandpaper). Actinic hyperkeratosis often remains on the skin without changing shape. If left untreated, then the risk of developing cancer increases.

Treatment in the doctor’s office:

Cryopreservation / cryosurgery / cryotherapy: the most commonly used treatment when there is a small number of lesions. It does not require incisions and anesthesia while there is no bleeding. Through special devices, liquid nitrogen is sprayed to the lesions. Liquid nitrogen cools the hyperkeratoses, which gradually shrink or show a crust and fall off. New healthy skin returns in a few days or weeks.

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