Actinic keratosis is a UV light-induced lesion of the skin. It is typically found in fair-skinned, sun-sensitive persons in their elderly. The lesions arise in areas of long-term sun exposure, including the face, ears, and, in men, bald scalp, as well as in the dorsal forearms and hands. People working outdoors have a higher chance of exposure to the sun for long periods and therefore, have a higher chance to develop actinic keratosis when they age.
Actinic keratosis begins as small, rough spots that are easier felt than seen and that have what is often described as a sandpaperlike texture. These 3-10 mm spots will then enlarge to several centimeters in size and may become red and scaly with time.
The most important ways to prevent actinic keratosis is:
- avoid prolonged UV exposure
- Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher that blocks both UVA and UVB light
- Avoid the use of tanning beds
- Wearing sun-safe clothing