Actinic Keratoses

Actinic keratosis (AK), or solar keratosis, is a common skin growth representing the earliest stage in the development of skin cancer.


Actinic keratoses are commonly felt as sandpaper-like lesions on the skin. These lesions cannot be moisturized away as they are the result of atypical cells generating atypical skin. Most common in chronically sun exposed areas of skin:

  • Face
  • Upper trunk
  • Arms


actinic keratosis on hand


Untreated actinic keratoses may progress to become squamous cell carcinoma and thus are considered pre-cancerous growths. Early detection and treatment is essential to prevent this progression. Various treatments include:

  • Liquid nitrogen
  • Application of topical chemotherapeutic medications
  • Use of photodynamic therapy (PDT)

Prevention of excessive UV exposure over the course of a lifetime is key to avoiding actinic keratoses. Effective prevention strategies include:

  • Consistent use of sunscreen
  • Sun-protective clothing
  • Avoiding intense mid-day sun

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actininc keratoses skin patch
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