Actinic keratosis is a potentially pre-cancerous spot of thick, rough, and scaly skin. The texture of these growths is often compared to sandpaper. In more severe cases lesions can be tender, itchy, or cause bleeding or a burning sensation.
There is a higher risk of developing actinic keratosis if one or more of these traits are present:
• Fair skin
• Naturally blond or red
• Naturally blue, green, or hazel eyes
• Skin easily burns when in the sun or freckles develop
• Weak immune system
• 40 years of age or older
• Medical condition that makes skin sensitive to UV rays
Development of these growths occurs overtime from constant sun exposure. Actinic keratosis ranges between 2mm to 6mm in size and can potentially grow to be a few centimeters in diameter.
In some cases a biopsy may be performed to ensure the growth isn’t progressing to skin cancer.
This type of keratosis can be treated with regular visits to a dermatologist. A daily topical cream may be recommended to use on affected skin over long periods of time. Other procedures may include cryotherapy, chemical peels, curettage, photodynamic therapy, or laser resurfacing.