Actinic Keratosis


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Actinic Keratosis aka Solar Keratosis – This is a rough, scaly patch on your skin that develops from years of exposure to the sun. It’s most commonly found on your face, lips, ears, back of your hands, forearms, scalp or neck — areas of skin typically exposed to the sun.
It enlarges slowly and usually causes no signs or symptoms other than a patch or small spot on your skin. An actinic keratosis takes years to develop, usually first appearing in older adults. Many doctors consider an actinic keratosis to be precancerous because it can develop into skin cancer.

What does Actinic Kerotosis look like?   Each can range from the size of a pinhead to 2-3 cm across. Their colour can be light, dark, pink, red, the same colour as your skin, or a combination of these. The top of each one may have a yellow-white, scaly crust. Redness may develop in the surrounding skin. The picture shows a solar keratosis on an ear.

Solar keratoses feel rough and dry, and are slightly raised from the surface of the skin. Often it is easier to feel rather than see them. They can also be hard and warty. Sometimes hard skin grows out of a solar keratosis like a horn (called a cutaneous horn).

Several solar keratoses may develop at about the same time, often in the same area of skin. Sometimes they can join together and form a large, flat-ish, rough area of skin.

Solar keratoses usually develop on areas of skin which have received a lot of sun exposure. Skin on the face, neck, ears, bald patches on the scalp and the backs of the hands is commonly affected. They may also appear in other areas (such as the back, chest and legs) in people who do a lot of sunbathing. There are usually no other symptoms. Rarely, you may get an itchy or prickling sensation from affected areas of skin.

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