Actinic Keratosis Symptoms, Causes & More

Author
By shirley
Reviewed
Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'Actinic Keratosis.' The Skin Cancer Foundation, 30 Apr. 2021, www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/actinic-keratosis
  • 2. 'Skin Cancer Types: Squamous Cell Carcinoma Overview.' American Academy of Dermatology, www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/types/common/scc
  • 3. 'Actinic Keratosis.' Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 13 Jan. 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/actinic-keratosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354969
  • 4. 'Actinic Keratosis: Signs and Symptoms.' American Academy of Dermatology, www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/actinic-keratosis-symptoms
  • 5. 'Actinic Keratosis: Diagnosis and Treatment.' American Academy of Dermatology, [www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/actinic-keratosis-treatment.](http://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/actinic-keratosis-treatment.)
  • 6. 'Actinic Keratosis.' Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 13 Jan. 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/actinic-keratosis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354975
Medical Expert Medical Expert

Actinic keratosis, or AK, is a skin condition characterized by rough, scaly patches that may appear on any body part that receives repeated sun exposure. Also known as solar keratosis, actinic keratosis is a common precancerous skin condition. It arises from long-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation. An estimated 58 million Americans have at least one spot of AK on their bodies.

Between 5 and 10 percent of actinic keratoses progress, becoming squamous cell carcinomas. Although this type of skin cancer isn't typically life-threatening, it can damage nerves, blood vessels and other tissues as it grows. Early detection and treatment can prevent this progression.1‘Actinic Keratosis.’ The Skin Cancer Foundation, 30 Apr. 2021, www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/actinic-keratosis,2‘Skin Cancer Types: Squamous Cell Carcinoma Overview.’ American Academy of Dermatology, www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/types/common/scc

What Does Actinic Keratosis Look Like?

The appearance of actinic keratoses varies, ranging from rough, dry and scaly skin patches to flat or slightly raised areas on the skin. Some lesions are hard, similar to a wart. Others resemble age spots or a rash. Some even form a hornlike growth. The lesions may be pink, red, gray, yellow, white, brown or flesh-colored.

Actinic cheilitis, a condition similar to actinic keratosis, may affect the lips, presenting as a white, dry, cracked lip that doesn't heal. One or both lips may lose their color, or white, scaly patches may form on both lips.1‘Actinic Keratosis.’ The Skin Cancer Foundation, 30 Apr. 2021, www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/actinic-keratosis,3‘Actinic Keratosis.’ Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 13 Jan. 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/actinic-keratosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354969,4‘Actinic Keratosis: Signs and Symptoms.’ American Academy of Dermatology, www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/actinic-keratosis-symptoms

Actinic Keratosis

Related Articles

Home | Privacy Policy | Editorial | | About Us

This site offers information designed for entertainment & educational purposes only. With any health related topic discussed on this site you should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, treatment, advice, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, treatment, or diagnosis. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.