An actinic keratosis (ak-TIN-ik ker-uh-TOE-sis) is a rough, scaly patch on your skin that develops from years of exposure to the sun. It's most commonly found on your face, lips, ears, back of your hands, forearms, scalp or neck.
Also known as solar keratosis, an actinic keratosis enlarges slowly and usually causes no signs or symptoms other than a patch or small spot on your skin. These lesions take years to develop, usually first appearing in older adults.
A small percentage of actinic keratosis lesions can eventually become skin cancer. You can reduce your risk of actinic keratosis by minimizing your sun exposure and protecting your skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Feb. 08, 2014
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=740. Accessed Aug. 15, 2013.
- Padilla RS. Epidemiology, natural history and diagnosis of actinic keratosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 15, 2013.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2013: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2013. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 15, 2013.
- Actinic keratosis. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/a---d/actinic-keratosis. Accessed Aug. 15, 2013.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 20, 2013.
- Jorizzo J. Treatment of actinic keratosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 15, 2013.
- FDA sheds light on sunscreens. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm258416.htm. Accessed Aug. 15, 2013.
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