An actinic keratosis 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. Also known as solar keratosis, an actinic keratosis enlarges slowly and usually causes no signs or symptoms other than a patch or small spot on your skin.
Over time, actinic keratoses may develop into invasive squamous cell carcinoma; according to one study of almost 7000 patients, among the small percentage of actinic keratoses that progress into squamous cell carcinoma, the length of time for this transformation to occur was approximately 2 years.Cells within actinic keratoses (AKs) show characteristic UV-induced gene mutations.
Standardized prevalence of AK from dermatological examinations was 2.7%; the rate increased with age (11.5% in the group 60-70 years) and was higher for men (3.9%) than for women (1.5%). Significant associations were also identified for skin phototype I, sunburns in childhood and solar lentigines. Vitiligo and a history of melanoma were also, but not significantly, associated with AK.
Freezing the skin growth with liquid nitrogen ( cryosurgery ) to destroy it. Cryosurgery (also called cryotherapy) can cause mild pain that can last up to 3 days. Healing typically takes 7 to 14 days. And there is little or no scarring, though some people with darker skin have permanent skin color lightening. This procedure can be done in your doctor's office. • Scraping and using electric current ( curettage and electrosurgery ).