Actinic Keratosis

Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Specialists located in MONTROSE, CO

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis services offered in MONTROSE, CO

Actinic keratosis is a precancerous skin condition that looks and feels similar to a dry or rough patch. Dermatology specialists Spencer Hamner, PA-C, Christine D. Brown, MD, and their team at Integrated Dermatology of Montrose in Montrose, Colorado, provide skin exams to detect these lesions and provide clinical treatment to get rid of them before they develop into skin cancer. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone for your next skin exam today.

What is actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis is a precancerous skin condition that might raise your concern because it looks similar to certain types of skin cancer. They’re extremely common, and while they’re not cancerous, it’s important to go to your dermatologist for treatment. Some actinic keratoses turn into squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) eventually. 

Your risk of sun damage, including actinic keratoses, is above average if you:

  • Have fair skin
  • Have a suppressed immune system
  • Are an older adult
  • Spend excessive time in the sun or use tanning beds

Just like skin cancer, actinic keratosis comes from ultraviolet (UV) light damage to your skin. To minimize your risk of actinic keratoses and overall skin cancer risk, you should protect your skin with sunscreen and limit your time in the sun. Avoid UV tanning beds altogether. 

What does actinic keratosis look like?

Beyond its appearance, an actinic keratosis lesion may itch or feel uncomfortable. But it’s also useful to recognize what actinic keratosis lesions look like so you can detect them during your home skin exams. 

Most actinic keratosis lesions look like dry, rough, or scaly patches of skin. They tend to appear on areas of skin that have had a lot of sun exposure, such as your scalp or arms. However, they can show up anywhere. 

Actinic keratoses on your head or neck tend to be flush against the rest of your skin, but actinic keratoses on the arms and hands tend to be raised. Many are the same color as the rest of your skin, but you might see some slight discoloration too.   

How is actinic keratosis treated?

The team at Integrated Dermatology of Montrose diagnoses your actinic keratosis with a professional skin examination before recommending treatment. The most effective treatments for getting rid of actinic keratoses before they turn into cancer are:

Chemical peels

A strong chemical peel removes surface layers of skin cells while also alleviating certain cosmetic features like scars, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. 


Cryotherapy is a method of freezing a lesion off your skin using very cold liquid nitrogen. 

Laser treatment

Laser therapy is effective for removing actinic keratoses on your face and scalp. 

After treating actinic keratosis, it’s important to keep a close eye on your skin for new lesions and report them to your dermatologist right away. 

Call Integrated Dermatology of Montrose or schedule an appointment online for a skin exam and actinic keratosis treatment today.