Actinic Keratosis

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
*All medical and health-related information provided on this web page is for information only. Such information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional advice, medical diagnosis or medical treatment. Professional advice should always be sought on any health and medical condition.

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