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.
Studies in the Ireland indicate that 19–24% of people over 60 years of age have AKHowever, 15–25% of these lesions will spontaneously regress within 12 months, and less than 1 in 1000 progress to become invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Where there is concern over the possibility of this, the patient should be referred using the 2-week wait mechanism.
Emollient (strength of recommendation A, quality of evidence, I) Where emollient has been used in the placebo limb of randomised control trials, it has resulted in improvement in over 40% of subjects;sun-damaged skin is often dry and emollient will address this aspect of the problem. 5% 5-fluorouracil cream (A, I) Application twice daily for 3 weeks reduces lesions to about 25% of their number or surface involvement.