Patient Comments: Actinic Keratosis - Describe Your Experience

Question:

Please describe your experience with actinic keratosis. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: jennifer510, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 28

I was diagnosed with actinic keratosis three years ago after biopsy of red flaky spot on the upper side of my chin. I was prescribed Picato gel. After healing, red spot is still there. The dermatologist then did needle injections to rid of the blood vessels in the red spot but that didn't work. I have used about ten creams, including prescription creams like Elidel and Locoid 1 percent. They only have a temporary effect. I have been dealing with this ugly spot for nearly four years and worry that I'll get more, and if this one can't be cured, then I'll have to live with even more lesions.

Comment from: Mary, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 08

Living in Spain for two years during the hot months I get blisters on my toes both feet. Doctor pops these and they continue to ooze for a week later, dries up eventually. I have tried Fucidin cream and Betnovate for my actinic keratosis.

Comment from: GlynnFromOklahoma, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 23

I have never ever been a person to get in the sun since I was a child. I have never had a bad sunburn. I am, however, very fair skinned and in the last 3 decades have had keratoacanthoma, squamous cell cancer, and now inflamed actinic keratoses. It"s a mystery to me how someone who takes extraordinary measures to keep out of the sun still continues to get these lesions of varying degrees. My father had an awful keratoacanthoma of his ear that required removing the entire top of his ear. But he was a farmer. He later died of lung cancer. I am not sure there is a connection but it certainly bears being vigilant about your skin and bringing new lesions to the attention of your medical provider.

Comment from: Mary, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 22

I spent many hot summers outside in Maryland as a child and never used any protection on my skin. Now that I am in my fifties I had an actinic keratosis on the center of my nose. I had it removed by my dermatologist and she told me to always put sunblock on my skin even when it is cloudy outside.

Comment from: Mrrphh, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 19

I am a 70 year old fair skinned female. I grew under the soggy silvery satin skies of Seattle, where we do not tan but only rust. I did go to India when I was 18 and stayed there in the equatorial latitudes for nearly a decade; I suspect that was the sun exposure that led me to this moment with actinic keratosis. Well, that and the fact that I"ve been immune suppressed for 30+ years for an autoimmune disease that I have. I have just the one periauricular lesion on the left, in front of my ear. I didn"t see it because I don"t have a mirror, but I felt it, and it itched, and if I scratched it bled. This carried on for about 6 months before I showed it to a dermatologist. Doctor biopsied it, though, and we may go straight to freezing, slashing, or burning!

Comment from: Marilyn2014, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 22

I have had the raised bumps of actinic keratosis on my scalp for 6 years. Two dermatologists only gave me prescriptions for steroid creams or liquid. These are only ameliorative. I have never been a sun worshipper.

Comment from: jenny, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 19

I am fair skinned and used to be a sun worshipper. I have had 2 basal cell skin cancers. One on the nose, and the other on the cheek. I have had solar keratosis for 25 years. For a long time the dermatologists didn't know what it was. It is the worst on my legs. I had it frozen off, and used ever type of topical medicine there is. None of it worked. I even tried the natural stuff. Surely in this day and age there is something that works!

Comment from: Nancy, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 18

I grew up in a beach town and was constantly in the sun, until my 40s. I now have actinic keratosis and have had it for about 5 years. My doctor gave me clotrimazole and betamethasone propionate cream USP, 1%/0.05%. I get it mostly on my legs, arms and shoulders; mostly on legs. I use it on the spots twice a day and eventually they do dry up and fall off. It"s a pain in the neck, but it doesn"t hurt and I don"t have to have them frozen off.

Comment from: molly, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

I literally have hundreds of these actinic keratosis lesions on my legs feet, arms, chest and ears. I see my dermatologist every 3 to 4 months to have the largest ones frozen. My body is full of scars, however, at this point I just want to avoid basal and squamous cell lesions which I have had in the past. I look at this as a part of poor decision-making as a young sun worshipper and just getting older... now it is too late to avoid the inevitable. I have tried all the creams and thermodynamic light therapy, all to no avail.

SLIDESHOW

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Comment from: Jean, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

I am 73-year-old woman. I have had breast cancer twice since 1994. I had a mastectomy and skin grafts. Now I have been diagnosed with actinic keratosis of the lip. I am waiting to have it treated. I have worked in the sun all my life but did not use sunscreen as I should. I feel good, and other than arthritis, I feel well and stay busy. The Lord has blessed me. When I see women with tattoos on their breasts and body piercings, I think, "Honey, if you had been through what I have been through, that would be enough!"

Comment from: jc, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 13

I am in my 3rd week of topical treatment. Wow, is my face looking ugly! I put a "Hello Kitty" Band-Aid on the worst spot so I can work as a veterinary technician without scaring people! The cream cost over $200 with insurance, but my doctor told me it is more effective. It does hurt and itch and looks terrible, but I wanted to make sure the spots were gone for good!

Comment from: Kim R, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 18

I had a red spot, less than 1/4" in diameter, on my cheek for over a year. The doctor thought it wasn't much, but because it hurt when touched, suggested removing it for biopsy. I got a shot to numb the area, then he removed it with a flexible razor blade-like instrument. Biopsy came back as actinic keratosis so I am glad it's gone.

Comment from: mel, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 17

I am 34 and I have this on my cheeks bones. I was always in the sun when I was little and even as a teenager, but I didn't start getting the spots until last year and I hope and pray they stop growing, people tell me oh your glasses cover most of the spots, but I know there still they are not. I know that beauty is not everything, but I still find myself trying to cover them up, I want to really express like many on here have to use sunscreen. Sure even at 34 I would love to just run out on the beach with out hassling to put on sun screen, but its so worth doing that, I am even going to start wearing a sun visor, just take good care of yourselves.

Comment from: Golden Girl, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 16

I am a 67 year old fair skinned female that spent many years at the beach, fishing, crabbing, sailing etc. I had a significant squamous cell carcinoma removed from my forehead 6 years ago. I have at least 100 Keratosis' all over my body even in places that were not exposed to the sun. I now have a spot on my nose that I am wary about and will be going to a dermatologist ASAP. I feel like an old ship that has grown barnacles all over her hull. I tell all young ladies, to cover up or use the tanning in the bottle.

Comment from: Fairly Stupid!, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 02

I'm older now (a 58-year-old male) and much, much wiser. I have loved the sun and the outdoors all my life. I have always felt good in the sun. I have always felt good with a tanned face and body. I worked outside off and on for 30 years. I sunbathed at every opportunity, sometimes being caught with very red burns, and being fair-skinned, this was often. Now I have actinic keratosis, and I regret all of the above. Now the least bit of sun causes discomfort to my face. I wish you could put my message somewhere where everyone could read it, especially those like I once was who believe all is well in the sun!

Comment from: ItsTessie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 31

I am a 53 year old female who has had both actinic keratosis and basal cell carcinoma since my early 40's. I am blue eyed and very fair skinned and grew up in S. Cal and took a lot of sun as a child, teen and young adult. I still love the sun and have a pool. I try to be smarter about my exposure. I just got three biopsies done on my face today and several lesions frozen on my hands and face. I now preach the use of sunscreen and hats to everyone. I have small scars where the lesions have been treated both with freezing and surgery. Aldara cream seems to leave the least scaring, but all the scars are very small and only really show if I get some tan (which I try not to do) and then they show up more as a white spot than an actual scar, and the "scars" are not as ugly as the scaly, red patches of actinic keratosis. WEAR SUNSCREEN AND HATS WHENEVER YOU GO OUT IN THE SUN AND TEACH YOUR KIDS THE SAME THING.

Comment from: susan, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 21

I am a 53-year-old fair-skinned, blue-eyed woman with actinic keratosis that was diagnosed about 15 years ago. My arms and legs are covered with them to the point that I won't wear dresses anymore unless it's with dark hose. I try to wear long sleeves all the time too, which is very difficult during the hot summer months. My dermatologist told me she has never seen such a heavy case on anyone as young as I am. I wish I had this information when I was in my teens and 20s.

Comment from: parrothdrd, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 05

I am an unusual case of actinic keratosis. I am only 43 years old and female, and I have this condition all over my legs, arms and hands, but none anywhere else! I noticed a few on my hands about 10 years ago but didn't think anything of it. I have always been a lover of the sun and tanning beds, but I am a fair-skinned, blue-eyed person, and I guess this all contributed to this. I have gone to two different dermatologists with only minimal results. The liquid nitrogen worked best for the large ones on my legs, but left shiny pink areas where the blisters were. I hate these nasty things and wished I had been more careful in the sun all those years ago.

IMAGES

Actinic Keratosis See a pictures of Actinic Keratosis (Solar Keratosis) and other noncancerous and cancerous skin conditions See Images
Comment from: starrbright69, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 05

I am 39 years old and only went to the beach when I was a child, but I am very light skinned. I was recently diagnosed with actinic keratosis and had it scraped pretty good for testing. I had to get it frozen, and now it is swollen.

Comment from: 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 23

I have actinic keratosis all over the left and right side of my face from my ears to the edge of my neck. It bleeds at times. My doctor burns them all the time, and I have had biopsies. They've all been negative. I have used aldara, and after a couple of treatments, it really itches, gets red and stings. It makes it hard to wash my face. I have dealt with all this for years and years. I am 55 and will go to my grave with it.

Comment from: Teresa, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 23

I had brown spots on my left cheek and below it for years, which I thought were “age spots.” It slowly got bigger and would itch and flake. Turns out, it was actinic keratosis. A dermatologist burned them off. The nitrogen stings a little when it's touched to the skin, but no big deal. It scabbed over then healed. I have no scars. I now have another spot on my upper right side of my nose on the bone. Time to go back to the doc!

Comment from: Sherri, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 02

With my actinic keratosis, I literally have hundreds all over my feet and ankles. They started probably about 10 years ago with just a few, and I kept asking the doctors about them, but they didn't seem concerned. Now they are extremely unsightly, and I am seeing a dermatologist who is burning them off. I'm not certain whether these will scar, but I just had this procedure yesterday, and I can tell you it is not a pretty sight today. I hate these things.

Comment from: Believer, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 25

In March I had a malignant melanoma tumor removed from my chest and haven't been the same since. I went to my dermatologist last month because of a red spot in the middle of my chest under my incision scar. She did a biopsy and it was diagnosed as actinic keratosis. I've been putting a prescription cream on twice a week for three weeks and it seems to being getting worse and spreading. It's now red, bumpy and itches day and night. I am going to another dermatologist Monday to see what else I can do. I'm medium complected and spent a lot of time in the sun and tanning booths in winter to prepare for summer vacations up until the day I was diagnosed with melanoma in March at age of 62. I was an unbeliever about skin cancer until now.

Comment from: Debbie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

I have actinic keratosis on my hands, and the tops of my feet are covered with a lot. My chest has some, and I have developed a few on my legs. I have been going to a dermatologist for years, having them burned off, cut off and frozen off. I am sensitive to the liquid nitrogen and blister pretty badly. Sometimes it's painful, and it looks terrible. It has left scars. If I had only known (being fair-skinned) not to have spent so much time in the sun!

Comment from: linvan61, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 21

I have actinic keratosis on my cheeks and will be up for more zapping next month. I just don't understand why mine seem to be getting larger in that area. It's almost as if it's spreading. This particular place has high tendency for blackheads and seems as if there is pus-like stuff underneath when I try to get them out.

Comment from: Denise, 55-64 Female Published: August 21

I have had actinic keratosis for 20 years and more and more are coming out on my skin. I had the ones on my face removed, but there are too many all over my body (even under my arms where there has been hardly any sun exposure) to have them all removed. So I have to live with these ugly "warts" for the rest of my life. My lower back is particularly affected.

Comment from: 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 12

I have acitinic keratosis. I have discontinued the cream, and my forehead is very slowly recovering. If you're given the option, do not go with the fluorouracil ointment option. I did and have been dealing with a very, very red blotchy forehead. This is actually a chemical burn that I was not aware of. It is very embarrassing to have to walk around looking like this. It hurts and looks terrible.

Published: July 30

I have had actinic keratosis lesions on my face for many, many years. Right now, I see my dermatologist every six months and there are always new ones that appear. She uses liquid nitrogen to remove them and they blister and scab for a week or so and go away nicely. I do have to keep a lookout for them in between visits. I did have a squamous cell lesion a few years ago and that required cutting to remove and a biopsy.

Comment from: FairSkinned, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: August 17

I am 54 year old male who has just started to develop a few keratoses on hand and legs. Everyone making comments here seems to go overboard by totally avoiding sun after receiving a keratosis. Actually, I believe we should still sunbathe, but do it more wisely, and avoid burning. Sunlight is still very essential to our health.

Comment from: boomer47, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 17

I am a green-eyed, olive-skinned brunette! I am 62 and grew up on the beaches of Southern California. In college it was the swimming holes of Northern California. I have actinic keratosis on my nose and have it frozen about twice a year. It keeps recurring. When I see someone come to work on a Monday morning with a sunburn.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 31

I have multiple actinic keratoses. I used 5-FU, a chemotherapy drug, for those on my nose and face. It comes in topical form for this purpose. It did a wonderful job. It is important to stay out of the sun when under treatment.

Comment from: demovoter, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 31

I am a 67 year old fair skinned woman who has had all 3 types of skin cancer, including melanoma. (Which, fortunately I survived) I surfed and spent days on the beach in the years before the connection between sun exposure and skin cancer was publicized. I burned, peeled, and healed many times in a summer. I have not been in the sun in the past 30 years, but the skin "saves up" the damage and releases it years later. I get keratoses frozen off often and am on a first name basis with my dermatologist.

Comment from: Youngone, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: May 20

I am 21 years old and at 16 I was a lifeguard and by law we were forced to wear SPF 65. Our managers would watch us to make sure we put it on. Although I was very careful and reapplied the sun block throughout the day I still got skin damage. I got my first (and hopefully only) actinic keratosis on the bridge of my nose when I was 18 years old. Thankfully my fiance and I have a Medical Spa (my fiance is a physician) and he lasered it off with a 1540 nanometer laser (very powerful). I also got a Papilloma on my leg which was cut off and right away grew back-so I must have it cut out! Thank God it is benign! I like the sun, but apparently it doesn't like my skin.

Comment from: jane, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 02

I am due to have treatment on Tuesday next week for actinic keratosis. I am a woman and worried sick whether to go ahead with this, as I do not want to look scarred and unsightly.

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