Addressing actinic keratosis and seborrheic keratosis on collarbone and neck at Ayana Dermatology & Aesthetics.

An Actinic Keratosis is a precancerous skin lesion that if left untreated, has a 10% risk of progression into a squamous cell carcinoma. They usually occur in fair skinned individuals after years of sun exposure, and it is estimated that more than 40 million Americans develop actinic keratoses (AKs) each year.  Actinic keratoses are most commonly found on areas of the body exposed to excessive sun, such as the forehead, tops of the ears and nose, lower lip, balding scalps, neck, upper chest, arms and hands.  Typically actinic keratoses are rough, scaly pink bumps or patches that are more easily felt than seen. Prevention of actinic keratoses begins by avoiding prolonged sun exposure and using daily photoprotective measures such as sunscreen and shade seeking. These UV protective measures should begin in childhood, as the sun damage responsible for precancer and skin cancer formation begins early in life. When Actinic Keratoses form on the lip, the medical name for this precancerous growth is Actinic Cheilitis. These precancerous growths can look like a badly chapped lip, so early detection and treatment is imperative. 

Actinic Keratosis Treatment Options

Various modalities are used to treat Actinic Keratoses. The most common in-office procedure for someone with a few lesions is Cryotherapy, or freezing the lesions directly with cold liquid nitrogen spray. For areas with significant sun damage and numerous Actinic Keratoses, field therapy is often employed.  This includes photodynamic therapy using a photosensitizing agent combined with red or blue light, or treatment with a topical chemotherapeutic or immunomodulator agent, to treat a larger area of skin and eradicate any precancerous lesions on or below the skin surface. 

Learn more about actinic keratosis at the Mayo Clinic and AAD