What is it?
Actinic keratosis is a skin disorder in which rough, scaly, or dry patches or lesions develop on sun-exposed parts of the body. These patches or lesions are precancerous, and if left untreated, there is a small risk that they can turn into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.
What are the symptoms?
- An actinic keratosis may appear as a scaly, raised, or rough area of skin. The keratosis can be pink, red, or brown; sometimes it is the same color as normal skin, but feels rough or dry to the touch. They are easier to feel than to see.
- Actinic keratoses are more likely to develop on parts of the body that get the most exposure to the sun, such as the face, ears, neck, hands, and forearms. Peeling or cracking lips, especially the lower lip, after sun exposure might also be a sign of actinic keratosis.
What to expect?
If you are diagnosed with actinic keratosis, you can consider discussing the following subjects with your doctor:
- There are various treatment options for actinic keratosis. What is recommended for you?
- Once treatment is done, what measures should you do to lessen the risk of developing this condition in the future?
- How often should your skin be checked for recurrence of actinic keratosis?