If you've developed rough patches of skin on your forearms, neck, face, ears and hands that are scaly, you may have a condition known as actinic keratosis. It's usually caused by frequent, persistent sun exposure. Unfortunately, the condition can become cancerous. The good news is that there are many different methods for treating the condition. Here's a look at some of the treatments you can review with your dermatologist.

Topical Medicated Cream

If you catch the condition in its early stages, you may be able to treat it with a topical cream. This medicated cream can be applied to the skin a few times a day. It's an effective method for eliminating the condition, though it can take a bit longer than some treatments, such as surgery. Your dermatologist can tell you how long you could expect to use the cream before you see relief.

Curettage Treatment

Sometimes, your dermatologist will recommend a treatment known as electrodessication and curettage. This method involves the use of a curette to scrape the surface of the scaly skin away. The device resembles a spoon, but it has a sharp edge. This process is followed by electrodessication, which involves using a needle to apply an electric current to the area. That current closes off old, broken blood vessels as well as any potentially cancerous cells.


Your dermatologist may recommend photodynamic treatment. This involves treating the affected area with a photosensitizing product. In most treatments, the product used is called aminolevulinic acid. It absorbs light, so it can soak up energy from the light and direct that energy toward the skin cells to eliminate them. This prevents precancerous cells from becoming cancerous. You might notice that this treatment gives you some redness and swelling in the days following the application, but it works well for areas such as your face or scalp, where other treatments may be a bit more difficult to do.

Other Options

In some cases, these treatments aren't enough. In those situations, you may need to work with a dermatologist to undergo surgery for your condition. Sometimes, dermatologists will freeze the skin using liquid nitrogen in a process referred to as cryotherapy. Your dermatologist may recommend a treatment like this if your condition isn't responding to other methods.

When it comes to dealing with a skin condition that could become cancerous, you need to talk with your dermatologist about the treatment options. With the information presented here and the help of a proactive dermatologist, you'll be able to find the best possible treatment option for your individual situation. Visit a site like http://desertdermatology.net/ for more information.