Actinic Keratosis

Definition:

A generic term used to describe acute and chronic inflammatory red, itchy reactions when skin comes in contact with specific substances. The rash tends to appear in a pattern matching the point of contact. Reactions can vary from mild redness to severe itching, cracking and scales.

What Causes Actinic Keratosis:

Initial exposure leads to sensitization that upon further exposure makes skin hypersensitive to the specific compound or chemical. The most common allergens in the U.S. are poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. Other common causes of contact allergens are nickel, rubber, dyes, cosmetic preservatives, and fragrances.

Management Strategy:

The primary goal of treatment is to identify the offending compound or chemical and avoid further contact with it as well as other chemicals that have the potential to cross react. Patch testing is a required diagnostic measure that helps identify the cause. Light-based therapy may also provide additional relief.