What is Actinic Keratosis
Actinic keratosis is a premalignant condition of thick, scaly, or crusty patches of the skin. It is more common in fair-skinned people. It is associated with those who are frequently exposed to the sun, as it is usually accompanied by solar damage. Since some of these pre-cancers progress to squamous cell carcinoma, they should be treated. The scaly or crusty part of the bump is dry and rough. The growths start out as flat scaly areas, and later grow into a tough, wart-like area. An actinic keratosis site commonly ranges between 2 and 6 millimeters in size, and can be dark or light, tan, pink, red, a combination of all these, or have the same pigment as the surrounding skin. It may appear on any sun-exposed areas.
Signs and Symptoms
- It may appear on any sun-exposed area, such as the face, ears, neck, scalp, chest, backs of hands, forearms, or lips.
- Usually more than one lesion is present.
- Have a rough texture.
- Itch, burn, or sting.
- Range in size from 1mm to 3mm or larger (about the size of a small pea)
- Be numerous, with several patches close together.
- Be surrounded by red, irritated skin.