Should I worry about actinic keratosis?

Should I worry about actinic keratosis?

Some actinic keratoses can turn into squamous cell skin cancer. Because of this, the lesions are often called precancer. They are not life-threatening. But if they are found and treated early, they do not have the chance to develop into skin cancer.

Do actinic keratosis need to be removed?

An actinic keratosis sometimes disappears on its own but might return after more sun exposure. It’s hard to tell which actinic keratoses will develop into skin cancer, so they’re usually removed as a precaution.

How often does actinic keratosis become cancerous?

Only about 10 percent of actinic keratoses will eventually become cancerous, but the majority of SCCs do begin as AKs. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell which AKs will become dangerous, so monitoring and treating any that crop up is the only way to be sure.

Is actinic keratosis painful?

AKs are often more easily felt than seen. Skin may feel dry and rough to the touch, or raw, sensitive and painful, or even itchy with a pricking or burning sensation. Some AKs look and feel inflamed. In rare instances, they may bleed or develop a persistent sore, also known as an ulceration.

Does actinic keratosis get bigger?

Also known as a solar keratosis, an actinic keratosis grows slowly and usually first appears in people over 40. You can reduce your risk of this skin condition by minimizing your sun exposure and protecting your skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays.

How fast does actinic keratosis grow?

How fast does actinic keratosis spread?

Within a day or two, the spot will develop a crust or small blister, which will fall off and heal within four to six weeks.

What does actinic keratosis look like?

What do actinic keratoses look like? AKs often appear as small dry, scaly or crusty patches of skin. They may be red, light or dark tan, white, pink, flesh-toned or a combination of colors and are sometimes raised. Because of their rough texture, actinic keratoses are often easier to feel than see.

What kills actinic keratosis?

Using medicine and light to kill cells ( photodynamic therapy, or PDT). PDT uses medicine, such as aminolevulinic acid (ALA), that is put on the skin and then activated with light. The light causes the medicine to destroy the actinic keratosis.

What causes actinic keratosis?

Actinic Keratosis Causes. Actinic keratosis is caused by sun damaged but does not happen overnight or if you are exposed to the sun for short periods of time it happens after a long period of sun exposure, which could take a lifetime. It can also be caused by people who use tanning beds on a regular basis.

What are the signs and symptoms of actinic keratosis?

Rough,dry or scaly patch of skin,usually less than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter

  • Flat to slightly raised patch or bump on the top layer of skin
  • In some cases,a hard,wartlike surface
  • Color as varied as pink,red or brown
  • Itching or burning in the affected area
  • What do you need to know about actinic keratosis?


  • Medicines: Topical chemotherapy: Your healthcare provider may give you medicine to put on your AK.
  • Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed: Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
  • Skin care: Check your skin: Look for new bumps once a month.
  • Actinic keratoses generally range in size between 2-6 mm in diameter (between the size of a pencil point and that of an eraser). They are usually reddish in color, with a rough texture and often have a white or yellowish scale on top. There is often a prickling pain felt when it is touched.