Actinic Keratoses or commonly called, AKs are rough, scaly patches on the skin caused by excessive exposure to the sun. AKs can sometimes progress into dangerous skin cancers. Dermatologists estimate that 40% of squamous cell carcinomas, the second leading cause of skin cancer deaths in the United States, begin as AKs. Without performing a skin biopsy, it can be almost impossible for a dermatologist to distinguish an AK from a squamous cell carcinoma. The American Cancer Society, the Skin Cancer Foundation, and the American Academy of Dermatology all recommend that people with AKs seek treatment for them.
Long–term exposure to the sun is the single most significant cause of AKs, so the best defense against them is a comprehensive sun protection program that includes wearing protective clothing, avoiding midday sun, staying in the shade as much as possible, and wearing a broad–spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
Premier Plastic Surgery & Dermatology offers a Photo Dynamic Therapy with Levulan. The treatment of AKs of the face or scalp incorporates Levulan and Blu-U Light therapy. Levulan topical solution is applied to the AKs and it is converted into a chemical that makes the cells extremely sensitive to light. When the AK cells are then exposed to the Blu-U light, the AK cells are destroyed. This treatment has been proven effective in clinical testing and may be covered by your insurance plan.