Actinic keratoses (AKs) can be the first step in developing skin cancer. They are common lesions of the epidermis (outermost layer of the skin) and are caused by exposure to sunlight. The most significant predisposing factors for developing AKs are fair skin and long-term sun exposure.
Typical AKs are dry, scaly, and rough. They are usually pink but can be skin-colored or tan. They can occur as isolated lesions, but more often are numerous. They are usually found on highly sun-exposed areas such as the face, ears, chest, arms, and lower legs.
You should begin early in life by protecting your skin against sun damage. However, it is never too late to initiate sun protection practices that can aid in prevention of new actinic keratosis lesions in adulthood.
The basic types of treatment for actinic keratoses are cryosurgery, topical chemotherapy, and photodynamic therapy.