Actinic Keratosis Specialist

Integrated Dermatology of Newton-Brighton

Dermatology located in Brighton, MA, Mashpee, MA & Needham, MA

Spending too much time in the sun unprotected can increase your risk for actinic keratosis. At Integrated Dermatology of Newton-Brighton in Mashpee, Brighton, and Needham, Massachusetts, Mark Amster, MD, an experienced dermatologist, and the team offer diagnostic testing and treatment services for actinic keratosis. You can receive treatment for the rough, scaly skin patches without damaging surrounding tissue using laser treatments, medications, or cryotherapy, and reduce your risk for actinic keratosis from progressing into skin cancer. Call the Integrated Dermatology of Newton-Brighton office nearest you or book an appointment online today.

Actinic Keratosis Q & A

What is actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis is a skin condition that results from years of sun exposure. You develop scaly, rough patches on sun-exposed areas of your skin, such as the:

  • Lips
  • Ears
  • Face
  • Neck
  • Scalp
  • Forearms

These patches grow slowly and typically appear on your skin after age 40. If left untreated, actinic keratosis can progress to squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.

What are the symptoms of actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis causes scaly, rough patches of skin that are generally smaller than one inch.

The skin in the area might be flat or appear slightly raised and can vary in color from pink to brown. The scaly skin might bleed or crust over, burn, or feel itchy.

You might also notice new patches of scaly skin developing in different sun-exposed areas.

Because symptoms of actinic keratosis can be similar to signs of skin cancer, it’s important that you schedule a skin evaluation at Integrated Dermatology of Newton-Brighton to receive a proper diagnosis.

How is actinic keratosis diagnosed?

The team at Integrated Dermatology of Newton-Brighton can often diagnose actinic keratosis during a visual exam of your skin.

In some cases, they might need to take a skin sample during a biopsy for further evaluation in a medical lab.

Once they confirm actinic keratosis as your diagnosis, your provider customizes a treatment plan to reduce your risk for skin cancer.

How is actinic keratosis treated?

There are some cases of actinic keratosis that go away on their own without treatment. However, if you continue exposing the area to the sun, the condition can come back.

The treatments Integrated Dermatology of Newton-Brighton offers for actinic keratosis include:


There are several types of medicated gels and creams that can remove actinic keratosis. After applying, you might experience some redness or burning sensations in the treatment area for several weeks.


Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to freeze actinic keratosis. As your skin begins healing from treatment, the old skin peels off and reveals the healthy skin underneath.

Laser therapy

Laser therapy targets scaly patches of skin and destroys them. This allows the healthy skin below to appear.

If you have noticeable patches of scaly skin that need a diagnosis, schedule a consultation online or by calling the Integrated Dermatology of Newton-Brighton office nearest you.