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Is your Skin just Dry or is it Actinic Keratosis?

Your skin feels rough. Is it calling for more moisture – or is it sending you a bigger message that you need to pay attention to?

Anyone with typical sun exposure levels in Southern California risks the development of actinic keratoses – those dry, rough patches that can turn into skin cancer.

  • Are you ignoring a potential problem or do you just need a heavy dose of moisturizer?
  • How do you know if you have nothing more than super dry skin or a lurking health problem? Few of us worry a great deal about skin cancer – after all, it’s usually someone else who has that diagnosis…until it’s our own!

If it’s just dry skin, you can affect a change

Dry skin will respond to treatment. Using a cool mist humidifier, adding bath oils, skin lotions and drinking enough water will begin to show some progress in smoother skin. Some OTC lotions to try are Eucerin, Cetaphil (both lotion and cream) and Amlactin.

If it’s AK, the problems persist

However, if the patches of skin are colored, felt as “different” from your normal skin feel (often an early AK will feel like a spot of dried glue), and have little response to treatment with over the counter measures, then you’re likely dealing with actinic keratosis. Not all AKs become skin cancer, but they are considered a precursor, and if left untreated, they can get pretty ugly or become cancerous.

Treating early AKs is a fairly easy process. The options that currently exist include nitrogen freezing, topicals such as imiquimod and the newly approved short term therapy Picato gel (not yet distributed but we’ll let you know when it is), photo dynamic therapy with ALA or laser that is specific to superficial lesions such as the Fraxel Dual.

Timing treatment

Winter is a great time to wipe out your AKs since you generally have less pigment activity going on and it’s easier to stay “under cover” if you are treating.

Knowing for sure

Concerned but can’t tell the difference? Visit a dermatologist who can quickly and accurately determine if you’re simply suffering dry skin or if you need to take medical action.

Schedule your consultation with Total Dermatology today!

When it comes to your skin and your health, it really is all about what’s best for you. Total Dermatology understands this, which is why we offer versatile treatments with experienced and highly trained aesthetic professionals led by Dr. Nissan Pilest. Your Total Dermatology transformation awaits.

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