Actinic Keratosis are skin lesions that appears as rough, scaly patches on sun exposed skin, due to frequent or intense exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, from the sun or tanning beds. There may be a single lesion or several lesions. Actinic Keratosis sometime resolve on their own, but typically recur after additional sun exposure. The damage is cumulative, so the more time you spend in the sun or in a tanning booth, the greater your chance of developing skin cancer. Your risk increases even more if most of your outdoor exposure occurs at times of the day or in locations where the sunlight is most intense, between 10 am and 3 pm. Dermatologists consider Actinic Keratosis to be precancerous because they have the potential to develop into skin cancer. If treated early, almost all Actinic Keratosis can be eliminated before developing into skin cancer. However, if left untreated these spots or patches may progress to squamous cell carcinoma, a serious form of skin cancer.
- Over age 40
- Live in a sunny climate
- Have a history of frequent or intense sun exposure or sunburn
- Have pale skin, red or blond hair, and blue or light-colored eyes
- Tend to freckle or burn when exposed to sunlight
- Have a personal history of Actinic Keratosis or skin cancers
- Have a weak immune system as a result of chemotherapy, chronic leukemia, AIDS or organ transplant medications