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Actinic Keratoses – Pre-skin Cancer

PREVENTION IS THE BEST CUREActinic Keratoses La Jolla | Chula Vista | East Lake, CA | Skin Cancer

Actinic Keratoses La Jolla | Chula Vista | Eastlake CA

Actinic keratoses are pre-skin cancers caused by years of sun damage. Learn what the signs and symptoms of actinic keratoses are and what our La Jolla and Chula Vista dermatology practice, led by Dr. Darrell Gonzales, can do to rejuvenate your skin.


An actinic keratosis, also known as a “pre-skin cancer,” is a scaly or crusty growth (lesion). It most often appears on a part of the body frequently exposed to the sun including the face, ears, backs of the hands and forearms, chest, and shoulders. Actinic keratosis can be the first step leading to squamous cell carcinoma. Although the vast majority of actinic keratoses remain benign, some studies report that up to ten percent may advance to squamous cell carcinoma.

Actinic keratoses are caused by chronic exposure of ultraviolet light (sun, tanning salon lamps). Because the total amount of time spent in the sun adds up year-by-year, actinic keratoses are more common in people over the age of 50. Some individuals, however, are even affected in their 20s.
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In the beginning, actinic keratoses are frequently so small that they are recognized by touch rather than sight. It feels as if you were running a finger over sandpaper. Some will be light or dark, tan, pink, red, or a combination of these. Occasionally they itch or produce a pricking or tender sensation. With time, these actinic keratoses can get larger, more elevated, and intermittently flake or peel.


Although not all actinic keratoses will turn into squamous cell carcinomas, there is no way to know ahead of time which of them will convert to a skin cancer. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments that exist to treat actinic keratoses. As an expert in skin cancer therapy, Dr. Darrell Gonzales has the knowledge and access to the most advanced forms of treatment for actinic keratoses at his La Jolla practice. After carefully looking over your skin, he will discuss the best options with you, including topical therapy, cryosurgery, chemical peels, photodynamic therapy, laser therapy, or a combination of these therapies.

Dr. Gonzales understands that everyone has different pain tolerance, treatment preferences, social and work obligations, and will ensure that your treatment plan will be the most effective and appropriate for your needs. As a result, your skin will be healthier, look more rejuvenated, and your overall risk of developing skin cancer will be reduced. Contact Dr. Gonzales’ office in La Jolla today to get started on a new and refreshed you.

For more information about the procedures and treatments performed by Board Certified Cosmetic Dermatologist, Dr. Alyssa Nash-Goelitz, Dr. Darrell Gonzales, Dr. Johannah Valentine, and Yvonne Lopez Clark PAC, please click here or call  858-657- 0267. Serving the La Jolla (office), San Diego, Chula Vista, Eastlake (office) California and surrounding areas.

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Call: 858.657.0267

9850 Genesee Avenue
Suite 850
La Jolla, CA 92037
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890 Eastlake Parkway
Ste 202
Chula Vista, CA 91914-4521
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