Websites covering actinic keratosis

A pick of the best websites on actinic keratoses, by Dr Keith Barnard

Treatment of actinic keratoses

It is hard to find a site that deals with the treatment of actinic keratoses alone, but this site does the job. Topical therapies, physical therapies including photodynamic therapy, and systemic treatments are all briefly described.

There is an interesting paragraph on experimental and anecdotal treatments. Some of these are popular in the US, but are expensive.

Why go there: comprehensive and brief.

Downside: none.

Information from: Dr Kathy Thomson, consultant dermatologist, West Yorkshire.


Actinic cheilosis

Actinic cheiloses are actinic keratoses that occur on the lip vermillion, and this article is part of an oral health focus  from a dental publication.

However, you would never guess that dentists are the target readership, as it seems physician-orientated to me, but full marks to any dental practitioner who refers a patient with a skin condition.

The introduction alone is worth reading, and warns us that although this condition can be treated effectively, close follow-up and strict measures to reduce subsequent sun exposure are mandatory.

And you may not know this, but the lip vermilion is a highly developed tissue that exists only in a man.

If you do nothing else on this site, go to pages two and three of this nine-page PDF. There you will see some splendid images, and a table listing the differential diagnoses. There is a lot more information that should increase your knowledge of a perhaps somewhat overlooked condition.

Why go there: brilliant images.

Downside: none.

Information from: Academy of General Dentistry, Chicago.


All the details

If you are one of those keen types who have an insatiable desire to know everything you can about a subject, then this is for you. As always with e-Medicine articles, they go into great detail, and these pages are no exception.

I was a little disappointed to find advertising here, and the images are only available in low resolution unless you fork out some dollars. But there is no escaping the fact that if you have the time and inclination to read this, you will come top of the class in the subject.

Why go there: if you really want to know everything.

Downside: too much for the average GP.

Information from: e-Medicine.

Address: topic9.htm

Information for patients

The main advantage of this site is that it covers this specific condition in some detail, and does not get sidetracked into skin cancer in general.

But that does not mean that it minces its words when it comes to the relationship with sunlight, and there is the expected advice about sun exposure.

I like the way when describing a range of treatments, the advantages and disadvantages are explained. It is a detailed website.

Why go there: for the more discerning patient.

Downside: not enough images.

Information from:, University of Heildelberg


Dr Barnard is a former GP in Fareham, Hampshire 

Website of the week

The problem with a condition such as actinic keratosis is that it is part of a spectrum of disease that goes from sunburn to skin cancer, and it is difficult to find a site for doctors that does not cover the whole gamut in great detail.

This site is no exception, but I chose it because if you want to home in on actinic keratosis alone it is easy to do so. You cannot miss the actinic keratosis section, about two screens down with a large photograph. It will only take two or three minutes to read this, but I think it is worth looking at the two tables before and after this section. The first deals with skin cancer screening, and second with risk factors for skin cancer.

Awareness and prevention are all important.

Why go there: all the essential facts.

Downside: not dedicated to the topic.

Information from: American Academy of Family Physicians.


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