What is actinic keratosis?
The human body can produce lots of vitamin D when the skin is exposed to the sun. However, too much sun exposure can also wreak havoc on the skin. One of the examples of skin problems due to sun exposure is actinic keratosis, which is characterized by scaly rough patches on the skin.
Initially, these patches appear on the forearms, back of the hands, ears, nose, lips, neck, or scalp. Although it takes years of sun exposure to develop actinic keratosis, the skin condition shouldn’t be taken lightly. The patches may appear small at the beginning but tend to become bigger over time. Usually, adults are affected by this condition. It is important to note that these patches may develop into skin cancer later on. However, they can be prevented by protecting your skin against harmful UV rays and limiting your exposure to the sun.
10 Natural Treatments for Actinic Keratosis
Scaly and rough skin patches can be troublesome. However, if they are early treated, they can be eliminated before developing into a serious skin problem. The first thing you need to do if you notice suspicious spots on your skin is to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
If the doctor diagnoses you with actinic keratosis, you can then take some steps to get rid of the skin spots. You can take your doctor’s prescription along with trying some home remedies to cure the spots. The following are some of the natural treatments you can try for actinic keratosis:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been considered as an effective remedy that can help treat a number of health problems. This natural product is known to cure different types of skin ailments. Just dab a bit of apple cider vinegar directly on the affected skin area and you will see results within no time. However, you have to use it regularly.
The process of using apple cider vinegar is by soaking a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and then place it on the affected skin area. Next, cover it tightly with a waterproof bandage. The bandage should be worn overnight. It can be removed when you wake up in the morning. During apple cider vinegar treatment, you would notice that the bump would start to appear white, but gradually be removed as time passes due to the acidic content of the apple cider vinegar.
2. Virgin Coconut Oil
The treatment using organic virgin coconut oil would require a lot of patience since improvements are gradually seen over time. Make sure to regularly apply the organic form of virgin coconut oil to the spots. It would help get rid of the spots on the forehead, nose, face, scalp, and neck.
At first, the affected spots may turn red and would also burn a bit, but you would start to see the changes after a month of application. Your skin will become softer and the spots start to vanish. However, one should ensure to apply this treatment everyday and at least once a day until the spots disappear.
3. Tea Tree Oil
There have been many individuals who have mentioned that they have found relief after using tea tree oil on actinic keratosis. Tea tree oil is loaded with antimicrobial properties. However, it should not be directly applied to the skin or consumed. To use tea tree oil, dilute it first with virgin coconut oil and then slowly apply it on the affected skin area. This procedure can be done several times a day until you see an improvement on the spots.
4. Green Tea
Green tea is another effective herbal remedy, which has been considered as an all-rounder for one's overall health. It can either be taken in the form of tea or topically applied on the skin. Green tea also possesses astringent properties, which makes it a great treatment option for different skin problems. After getting a sunburn, place a bag of green tea (which has been first soaked in warm water) on the affected area to prevent more damage.
You can also drink green tea or take it in the form of supplements, which are mostly available in leading health stores or online websites. Green tea consumption is usually considered safe. However, make sure not to consume more than five cups of green tea within the day to avoid certain side effects such as diarrhea, headaches, and irritability. If placing the tea bag on the affected skin area leads to skin irritation, stop the application and immediately consult a doctor.
5. Water Intake
Stay hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. It will not only keep you hydrated, but it will also keep you feeling great. If you are well-hydrated, your body will be able to flush harmful toxins out of your body through urination.
A study published in Cancer Letters described that a cream with a 10 percent concentration of solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides (BEC) has been proven to effectively treat keratosis, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma.
Solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides (BEC) are extracts from the Solanaceae plant family, which has been used since 1825. The extracts have been recognized as an effective remedy for both benign and malignant skin conditions. Its extracts include those from eggplants.
Some people have found success when eggplant and apple cider vinegar are combined for the treatment of actinic keratosis. Make your own homemade eggplant cream treatment using the following steps:
- Take a medium-sized eggplant and mince it well.
- After mincing, place it in a jar and add apple cider vinegar until the eggplant is completely covered.
- Place the eggplant mixture in the refrigerator and the leave it for around 3-4 days until the vinegar turns dark in color. It is now ready for use.
- Dip a cotton ball in the mixture and then apply it to the affected skin area. You can apply the mixture several times a day.
7. Castor Oil
Castor oil has been used as a potential home remedy for treating actinic keratosis. However, not everybody who tried using this remedy has found success in the treatment. The good thing is that this remedy has no adverse side effects, making it a method worth trying on your skin. Castor oil can be used to provide a soothing effect on the burns and inflammation caused by the lesions. It also helps in reducing the spots if it is regularly applied.
8. Dietary Changes
An individual who maintains a healthy and nutritious diet tends to lead a healthy life and keeps diseases at bay. Maintaining a healthy diet is said to be the key to not only keeping the body properly working, but at the same time helps in the prevention of any health problems such as actinic keratosis or skin cancer in worse conditions.
Whether you have actinic keratosis or not, try consuming at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Foods should mostly contain citrus foods and vegetables such as broccoli and oranges, which are rich in vitamin C, mineral such as selenium, and antioxidants in the form of beta-carotene. The correct foods on your plate would ensure that the health of your cells and skin are well maintained.
To boost the health of the immune system, get your daily dose of sea vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Some of the food items that have shown immune-boosting and anticancer properties are:
- Green tea
- White fish
- Hot pepper
- Olive oil
These food items are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for both the health of the skin and body's immune system, especially when it comes to the prevention of melanoma.
You can consume butter, fish oil, and fish cooked in olive oil at least twice a week to give you an added layer of protection. Ensure to avoid certain food items, which are known as cancer-causing agents such as red meat, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives.
The topical application of iodine has been found effective in treating actinic keratosis. Apply iodine by using a cotton swab to the affected skin area two times a day. Apply it at night since iodine tends to stain the skin for a time. You wouldn't want going out in public with yellow-orange skin! You can use other topical solutions in the morning. Lugol's iodine is good for both internal and external use.
10. Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver is an odorless and colorless liquid supplement, which can be used for actinic keratosis. To easily apply colloidal silver, you can put it in a spray bottle and apply it on the affected skin area at least two times a day.
It is still important to have sun exposure for short periods. Whenever you're under the sun, protect your skin by wearing long sleeves, hats, or pants instead of applying sunscreen. Studies have also shown that chemical overuse through the over application of sunscreen has been linked to skin cancer.