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AC is the acronym for actinic cheilitis and is a condition where the lower lip becomes dry, rough, and thick with scales. It is mainly caused by the excessive exposing of the lips to the sun, and for this reason actinis cheilitis is also known as solar cheilitis.
It mostly affects men above 20 years of age, the elderly (as they work outdoors mostly), and people who mostly reside in hot tropical regions and dry places like deserts, compared to women and children. The people who are at risk include those with low immunity, of fair complexion, and those who have undergone transplant of an organ.
Once diagnosed, it is important to go for treatment for this disease as early as possible. Initially, treatment may cause some pain, swelling, and other effects, but these are cured after completion of the therapies. There are many methods for treatment of AC, including carbon dioxide laser vaporization, electrosurgery and cryosurgery.
In the initial stages, the symptoms may not be noticeable, but slowly after a month or a year they appear. One may experience many problems on the lower lips. Some of the common of symptoms of AC are:
Exposure to sun
Ultra violet (UV) rays from the sun are harmful radiation, and the major cause of AC. There are three types of ultraviolet rays; UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. The layers of the atmosphere prevent or filter these harmful rays. UV-C which lies in the range of 100–290 nm are almost completely prevented by the atmospheric layers and UV-A and UV-B which lies in the range of 320–400 nm and 290–320 nm, respectively, penetrate the atmosphere and contribute to the causes of AC. Among the two UV radiations (UVA and UVB), UVB plays a major role in inducing AC.
Excessive exposure to UV radiation leads to an altered epidermis layer of cells and subsequently results in damage to DNA in the epithelial cells of the lips. When commutative ultraviolet radiation is exposed to the skin, it leads to the suppression of the activities of antigen present in the cell and weakens the immune system. This in turn leads to the detection of cellular damage and DNA mutation.
People who have low melanin are very prone to get affected by AC. Such people have lighter skin, which may be very sensitive to sun exposure. This may cause sunburns which are then associated with may related factors that support AC.
Some of the minor causes of AC are: