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The signs and symptoms of an actinic keratosis include:

  • Rough, dry or scaly patch of skin, usually less than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter
  • Flat to slightly raised patch or bump on the top layer of skin
  • In some cases, a hard, wart-like surface
  • Color as varied as pink, red or brown, or flesh-colored
  • Itching or burning in the affected area

Actinic keratoses are found primarily on areas exposed to the sun, including your face, lips, ears, back of your hands, forearms, scalp and neck.

When to see a doctor

Because it can be difficult to distinguish between noncancerous spots and cancerous ones, it's best to have new skin changes evaluated by a doctor — especially if a spot or lesion persists, grows or bleeds.

Feb. 08, 2014

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