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 Actinic Keratosis

 What is actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis (AK) appears as a small, red, scaly, flat spot on the skin. Often it feels like a dry and rough patch of skin. AK occurs on areas of the face that are exposed to the sun, so AK can also be called solar keratosis, which may be a precursor to skin cancer.

 How do actinic or solar keratoses form?

Normal skin cell functions are disrupted from damage, causing abnormal skin lesions. The layer of the skin affected is the stratum corneum, which is comprised of squamous cells. This layer of the skin can be shed through normal epithelial function, or it can be stimulated through keratolysis (exfoliation). These damaged cells cannot be restored and must be replaced with normal skin cells through repair and rejuvenation.

 What causes actinic keratosis?

Skin cell functions can be damaged through prolonged or accumulated exposure to sunlight or from deficiencies in body function that can be associated with chemical exposure or the natural aging cycle. Genetics may be a factor in determining sensitivities to sunlight and a reduced ability for repair.

 What are the dangers of actinic keratosis?

Since actinic keratosis is caused by an abnormal formation of skin tissue and because cancer is rooted in the proliferation of abnormal cells, it is recommended that the patches be checked by a healthcare professional to rule out the possibility of precancerous lesions. If left untreated, AK patches can become extensive and progress to active lesions that can bleed and become infected. Extensive AK is more complicated to remove and may lead to squamous cell carcinoma.

 How is AK treated? How do they work?

Treatment of actinic keratosis basically involves removal of the affected skin layer to induce replacement by normal skin cells. Removal of the epidermis can be accomplished through keratolysis or surgery. Restoration of normal cell function can be supplemented with topical agents and prevention of solar exposure.

Keratolysis involves use of a chemical peel to remove the top dermal layer. Since AK is often found on areas of the face, glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid or AHA) provides a gentle solution to treat thinner, sensitive tissues.

Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane. It is the preferred form of AHA in topical applications because it is a small, water-soluble molecule, better able to penetrate the epidermal layer. Glycolic acid promotes keratolysis (exfoliation) and stimulates collagen synthesis for repair and rejuvenation of the underlying tissue. It stimulates the natural mechanisms to shed the epidermal layer and build the dermal matrix. In doing so, it supports hydration of the underlying cells for continued rejuvenation effects of enhanced texture and tone.

High concentrations of glycolic acid can cause burns and irritation. KAVI Glycolic Acid products are available in highly purified therapeutic concentrations and are buffered to reduce the risk of burns. Available in various concentrations, KAVI Glycolic Acid peels are prepared with naturally soothing witch hazel to reduce inflammation (instead of SD alcohol, which can dehydrate tissue). For more information on choosing the appropriate glycolic acid product for your skin needs, click here.

 What can I expect from treatment?

Depending on the type of treatment and the active ingredients in the product, superficial to deep exfoliation can be produced with buffered glycolic acid peels. Dryness and sensitivity to sunlight are common effects as the skin begins to repair and regenerate. Weekly treatment over a six-week duration cycle will stimulate a natural regeneration phase.

Glycolic acid is a component to formulations containing active ingredients for the repair and rejuvenation of the skin. Effective agents include hyaluronic acid and retinol which support essential collagen repair.

In general, regular application of moisturizers and sun blocks is an essential practice to promote skin rejuvenation and reduce the appearance of premature aging. Maintenance regimens that include KAVI glycolic acid, serums, cleansers and moisturizers promote healthy skin rejuvenation following any treatment.

 What are other options for treatment?

Options from a healthcare provider include surgery: manual (scaping), laser and cryotherapy. These procedures remove the affected epithelial layer to reveal exposed skin that will heal with normalized cells. These procedures produce redness and swelling which can be managed as side effects.

Other options currently being studied involve optical creams that stimulate the body's immune system to attack abnormal cells and normalize skin cells. These treatments are nonsteroidal and induce a breakdown of the affected skin tissue. Treatment duration is 90 days.

 How can I prevent outbreaks?

Actinic keratosis is usually triggered by exposure to the sun. Prevention requires monitoring and maintenance to promote normal skin function. The practice of applying sunblock protection is essential in preventing outbreaks and supporting natural skin repair. All outbreaks of AK should be monitored and checked by a healthcare professional. Once the abnormal layer of skin is removed, topical moisturizers and supplements that contain hyaluronic acid further enhance cellular hydration for improved cellular function and rejuvenation.

Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by the body for lubrication and connective tissue maintenance. Hyaluronic acid production decreases with maturity, often presented as joint degeneration, heart conditions and glaucoma. As an essential component for the biologic scaffold, hyaluronic acid corrects tissue degeneration, promotes hydration, and enhances structural support for collagen synthesis and elastin production-critical for tissue rejuvenation and repair. Topical applications of hyaluronic acid are absorbed by the body and also effective in combination with other dermatologic ingredients.

KAVI Hyaluronic Acid 95 contains the highest concentration of hyaluronic acid in a topical humectant. It is an active ingredient included in KAVI serums to promote skin hydration and tissue repair. KAVI Hyaluronic Acid 95 and the KAVI Glycolipidic Moisturizer are a powerful combination to treat acute dry skin-resulting in reduced wrinkles and improved texture and smoothness.

All KAVI products are formulated with natural ingredients that invigorate cellular processes to restore your skin's natural beauty safely and effectively.

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