Looking at your skin is likely enough for your doctor to assess whether or not you have actinic keratosis. If there is any doubt about the diagnosis, the healthcare provider may suggest additional tests, such as a skin biopsy. During a skin biopsy, a tiny portion of the patient’s skin is removed for further examination in a clinical setting. In most cases, a biopsy may be performed in a clinic after an injection of numbing medication.
Even after treating actinic keratosis, your doctor may recommend that you have a skin exam at least once a year to look for early indications of skin cancer.
Sometimes an actinic keratosis will go away independently, but it will probably return if you spend more time in the sun. Because it is difficult to determine which actinic keratoses may progress into skin cancer, actinic keratosis is often treated as a precaution.
If you have several actinic keratosis, your doctor may recommend a medicinal gel or cream to eliminate them, such as fluorouracil, imiquimod, or diclofenac. These medications may be found in a variety of brands. The usage of these products might result in irritated skin or a burning feeling that lasts for many weeks.
Surgical and Other Procedures
Actinic keratosis may be removed using a variety of methods, including the following:
- Laser therapy
- Freezing (cryotherapy)
- Photodynamic therapy
- Scraping (curettage)