Actinic Keratosis is the most common form of pre-cancerous condition. Skin damaged by chronic exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays or tanning is the primary risk factor. Actinic Keratosis (AK) can develop into squamous cell carcinoma, one of the most common types of skin cancer.

If you are diagnosed with AK, the damage from long-term exposure to UV rays means you are at risk of developing future Actinic Keratosis. Your health care provider will work closely with you to treat AK and to help you devise a plan to protect your skin from further damage.

The AK patches are rough, raised scaly patches of skin that appear on areas most likely to see UV exposure such as the face, neck, and hands. These patches appear most commonly in older adults as they are usually the result of long term UV exposure. If you notice patches like this anywhere on your body, make an appointment with your dermatology professional. 

What to expect

At your initial appointment, your dermatologist will ask you about the location of the patches you have noticed and will most likely perform a full-body skin evaluation. Your dermatologist might numb and then biopsy a small area of the lesion to confirm that you have Actinic Keratoses. If it is confirmed that you have AK, there are numerous potential treatment options. You will discuss these with your dermatologist to determine which options are