Actinic keratosis can be both unaesthetic and bothersome. What’s more important is that it can lead to skin cancer. This is why it’s best to treat actinic keratosis as soon as it’s discovered. And you can try to do it at home, with the help of some natural remedies for actinic keratosis!
About Actinic Keratosis
Actinic keratosis, also known as solar keratosis or senile keratosis, is a premalignant skin condition that manifests through thick, crusty, or scaly areas on the skin. It is believed to be caused by overexposure to the sun. Because of this, it is more common in the case of fair-skinned people, who have a higher risk of being affected by the sun.
Overexposure to the sun can lead to the appearance of thick, scaly, or crusty bits of skin, dry and rough. At first, they are flat, but with time they grow more. They are generally between 2-6 mm and vary when it comes to colors: dark or light tan, pink, red, or they might even have the same color as the skin surrounding them. They appear mostly on areas that are sun-exposed: face, neck, scalp, ears, chest, forearms, and back of the hands.
If you’re fair-skinned, you can try to prevent the appearance of actinic keratosis. As overexposure to the sun is the main cause, it’s best to try and limit this exposure. If you’re staying out for a longer period of time though, make sure you’ve got the necessary “weapons” to protect yourself: sunscreen, hats, and clothing that cover a lot of skin.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Actinic keratosis is considered to be potentially pre-cancerous. In some cases, the cells can change to squamous cell carcinoma. Because of this, it’s important to both diagnose and treat it properly.
Actinic keratosis is mostly discovered through clinical diagnosis – this means the doctor takes into account symptoms reported by the patient, as well as any other medical signs. In some cases, the doctor might suggest a biopsy as well, in order to make sure the skin problem really isn’t cancer.
A common treatment method is using topical gels and creams. Your doctor might recommend you to try some of the following: ingenol mebutate gel (0.05%), diclofenac sodium gel (3%), imiquimod cream, 5-fluorouracil cream, or salicylic acid ointment.
Other possible treatments include cryosurgery (freezing with liquid nitrogen), electrocautery (burning with electricity), or laser treatment. A rather new method is photodynamic therapy – a chemical is injected into the bloodstream in order to make the lesions a lot more sensitive to light.
Also, it’s important to go to regular follow-ups after undergoing treatment for actinic keratosis. This is necessary in order to make sure that there are no new lesions developing, but also to check how the old ones are doing.
Natural Remedies for Actinic Keratosis
One natural solution is using virgin coconut oil. It is recommended to apply it to your skin daily, for about a month. At first, the spots will turn red but with time, they will start to disappear. You can also apply it a few times a week after this, in order to keep your skin healthy and to protect it from the sun.
Another option is using apple cider vinegar. Apply it 2-3 times a day to the skin with the help of a cotton ball. You can also add a teaspoon to a glass of water and drink it during the day, especially during meals. You can gradually increase the amount of apple cider vinegar too as much as two tablespoons. Also, to sweeten the drink, you can add a bit of honey.
Last, it is believed that creams which include solasodine glycosides are good for treating actinic keratosis. You can also get this active ingredient naturally, by including eggplants in your daily alimentation.
There are no side effects linked with these natural remedies. However, it’s recommended to consult your doctor first before giving any of them a try.