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What Is Actinic Keratosis And How Can I Prevent It?

What Is Actinic Keratosis And How Can I Prevent It?

Actinic Keratosis is the most common pre-cancer that forms on skin damaged by chronic exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or indoor tanning beds. Precancer means that if the actinic keratosis goes untreated, the condition can turn into cancer. Actinic keratosis appears in most people after the age of 40 and is commonly found in areas that are constantly exposed to sunlight such as the face, scalp, neck, and the backs of the hands. Although actinic keratosis is considered a precancerous condition, it is very easily treatable with laser therapy. 

Signs Of Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis appears as small dry, scaly, crusty patches of skin. Your skin may be raised with red, white, or tanned bumps with a rough texture. Since actinic keratosis results in these raised bumps, it is often easier to feel rather than see at first in the early stages of the condition. Other symptoms include:

  • Stinging and itching skin
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Bleeding

Your primary care provider or dermatologist is able to diagnose actinic keratosis by examining your skin and using magnification. Your healthcare provider may also take a biopsy of the area to send off to the lab to test for early signs of skin cancer. 

How Is Actinic Keratosis Treated?

To remove actinic keratosis, your dermatologist may use blue light laser therapy treatments or non-invasive Fraxel laser therapy. Fraxel 1927 laser therapy is the go-to treatment for treating actinic keratosis because of its safe and effective results. This non-ablative laser therapy targets sun-damaged skin cells to promote rapid healing of the damaged cells and to stimulate the growth of new, healthy skin cells. The Fraxel 1927 laser does not damage surrounding skin, therefore promoting rapid healing. Benefits of the Fraxel 1927 laser includes:

  • Reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Highly successful treatment for actinic keratosis
  • Improved skin tone and texture
  • Smoother, younger-looking skin

How To Prevent Actinic Keratosis

Sun safety is necessary to help prevent the development and reoccurrence of actinic keratosis. Here are a few ways you can protect your skin from harmful damage caused by the sun's UV rays:

  • Wear sunscreen every single day
  • Re-apply sunscreen throughout the day
  • Avoid tanning beds
  • Check your skin regularly and visit a dermatologist if any unusual spots are forming on your skin

It is still very important to protect your skin during the winter months. You are not protecting your skin from the heat, you are protecting it from the sun's UV rays which are here all year round, even on cloudy, snowy days.

Kelowna Actinic Keratosis Treatments

You can reduce your risk of developing actinic keratosis by minimizing your sun exposure and protecting your skin from UV rays. If you notice dry, scaly patches of skin that are raised with bumps, visit your dermatologist so they can examine your skin and advise a treatment plan customized to your skin type and condition. Although actinic keratosis is a precancerous condition, it is highly treatable with laser treatments such as Fraxel 1927 laser therapy. However, left untreated, you will increase your risk of the condition turning into skin cancer which can be life-threatening. 

At Okanagan Skin Care Centre, we are invested in the health and well-being of all our patients and strive to develop personalized and effective acne treatments which will give you the healthy, clear skin you deserve.

To book a consultation with one of our skincare specialists at Okanagan Skin Care Centre today or to learn more about our Actinic Keratosis treatment options, call us at 250.868.9290 or book your consultation today!


Q: How long is a Fraxel 27 laser treatment?
A: The length of your treatment will depend on your skincare needs but treatments can typically last up to two hours long.

Q: Does actinic keratosis hurt?
A: Severe conditions of actinic keratosis can cause discomfort and pain. If these dry, patchy areas of skin are causing you discomfort, book a consultation with one of skincare specialists at Okanagan Skin Care Centre by calling 250.868.9290 so we can help restore your skin and alleviate your discomfort. 

Q: What is the downtime associated with Fraxel 27 laser therapy treatments?
A: Patients may experience redness and itchiness in their skin for a couple of days after their appointment. It is very important that the patient's skin is kept out of sunlight for at least 24 hours after the laser treatment.

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Donna McAteer

Donna McAteer

Donna is the general manager and has been with the Okana­gan Skin Care Cen­tre for over 14 years. She is a certified Es­theti­cian and previous business owner with over 20 years enjoying the skin care industry. Her passion for knowledge, integral client care and maintaining a syn­er­gis­tic team that represents professional excellence in skin care remains her focus.

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