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.
Limited data are available on the prevalence and risk factors of actinic keratoses (AKs). Within the Rotterdam Study, full-body skin examinations were performed among participants aged 45 years or older to estimate the age- and sex-standardized prevalence of AK and its associated risk factors. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for associations between risk factors and the presence of 1-3, 4-9, and ≥ 10 AKs.
Treatment options for actinic keratosis (AK) include destructive therapies (eg, surgery, cryotherapy, dermabrasion), topical medications (eg, 5-fluorouracil [5-FU], imiquimod, ingenol mebutate, diclofenac), chemical peels (eg, trichloroacetic acid), and photodynamic therapy (PDT). In general, lesion-directed treatments, such as cryotherapy and surgical procedures, are the primary approach for isolated lesions.