Actinic keratosis is a small, rough, raised area found on skin that has been in the sun for a long period of time.
Some actinic keratoses may develop into a type of skin cancer.
Actinic keratosis is caused by being in sunlight.
You are more likely to develop this if you:
Actinic keratosis is usually found on the face, scalp, back of the hands, chest, or other sun-exposed areas.
Your doctor or nurse can diagnose this condition by looking at your skin. A skin biopsy may be sometimes be done to see if it is cancer.
Some actinic keratoses becomeo squamous cell skin cancer. That's why you should have all skin growths looked at by a doctor as soon as you find them. Your doctor will tell you how to treat it.
Growths may be removed by:
If you have many, your doctor may recommend:
A small number of these skin growths turn into skin cancer.
Call your health care provider if you see or feel a rough or scaly spot on your skin, or if you notice any other skin changes.
You can prevent this condition by protecting your skin from sunlight.
Other important sun safety facts:
Solar keratosis; Sun-induced skin changes - keratosis; Keratosis - actinic (solar)
Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009:pp 812-818.
Ibrahim SF, Brown MD. Actinic keratoses. In: Lebwohl M, ed. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009.
Reviewed by: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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