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.
This study examines the prevalence of sun-related damage to the skin in a caucasian population in north-west England. The importance of constitutional factors (complexion, skin type and age) as well as environmental and occupational exposures for the development of actinic keratosis (AK) and skin cancers was assessed in people over 40 years of age attending outpatient clinics (non-dermatology) at four centres in north-west England (Mersey region).
AK are a marker of sun damage and so a thorough skin examination is needed to look for more serious sun-related skin tumours • Provide a patient information leaflet on UV protection (and vitamin D) including the need to wear a hat - up to 25% of AK will resolve if patients adhere to advice • Provide a patient information leaflet on AK (follow link for British Association of Dermatologists) • Moisturisers - it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between early AK and dry scaly areas of normal skin. T