The cancer-causing condition beauty workers need to know

Any beauty worker in Australia will tell you that one of the leading requests is for help with sun-damaged skin. Whether it’s pigmentation, wrinkles or dehydration, you name it, our beauty workers have seen it.

And now, more than ever, customers are presenting with another sun-induced condition: actinic keratosis.

According to skin expert Nicola Kropach, “Actinic keratosis is a rough and often bumpy patch of lesion that forms on the skin. These light to dark coloured patches can be found on the scalp, back of hands, face, ears, back of forearms, the neck and shoulders and can sometimes be as big as a 20-cent piece. Developing actinic keratosis increases your risk of skin cancer and if it’s left untreated it could develop into squamose cell carcinoma, which is a form of skin cancer.”

Given its seriousness, skin therapists need to be aware if the condition, given that a significant number of dangerous skin conditions are often discovered during beauty routines. Just like melanomas, actinic keratosis can appear years after sun exposure, which has resulted the condition most commonly presenting in customers aged in their forties.

“Anyone can develop actinic keratosis; however, most people are in their 40’s or over and have a long history of sunburn, live in a sunny area, have light coloured skin and have a tendency to burn in the sun,” says Nicola, highlighting that by the time the condition appears, it can be too late to treat. “Prevention is the best form of treatment of actinic keratosis,” says Nicola. “Lifestyle changes and an awareness of exposure to UV light as well as taking proper precautions when out in the sun are all ways to prevent these patches from arising. I recommend to always protect your skin from UV rays with broad spectrum sunscreen like Aesthetics RX Sunscreen with Zinc SPF 30 and use a UVA and UVB protective moisturiser every day likeAesthetics RX Daily Moisturiser Hydrating.”

Importantly, Nicola says that if you do notice the signs of actinic keratosis in a client, encourager them to immediately see a doctor. “Seeking medical advice from a doctor or dermatologist is advised due to the condition being pre-cancerous.”

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