Actinic Keratosis


Scaly patches

Non-painful non-itching rash

Small rough spot on the skin

Typically 2-6 millimetres in diameter

Reddish in colour

Rough texture

White or yellowish scale





Photodynamic Therapy

5-Fluorouracil – 5-FU

Imiquimod – Aldara

Diclofenac – Solaraze

Ag3derm Cream

Actinic keratosis is a condition that creates premalignant lesions that increase with age and is usually sun induced.  Light complexioned people are more susceptible to these lesions than those with darker complexion.  Years of sun exposure will be required to induce lesions for virtually all individuals who suffer from actinic keratosis.  Actinic keratosis lesions may undergo spontaneous remission if the individual reduces their sunlight exposure, but new lesions may appear in the future.

The lesions of actinic keratosis will begin as an area of increased vascularity and the surface of the skin will become rough.  The texture of the skin no an individual is actually the key to diagnosing early lesions.  On effected areas, the roughened skin will gradually form a yellow crust and the removal of this crust will usually lead to bleeding.  Lesions are usually small, but the extent of the disease from person to person will vary.  An individual may experience a few lesions or they may experience many lesions on the entirety of their forehead, scalp or temples.  Of course, these lesions can be seen on other parts of the body in some individuals but they are most commonly seen in areas of the face and head.  Lesion outbreaks that are more severe will involve many lesions and they may become inflamed and even ooze, which often suggests malignancy.  Actinic keratosis is related to squamous cell carcinoma, therefore, this condition can be very serious.  After experiencing these legions for several years, a percentage of lesions may degenerate into squamous cell carcinoma.  Single lesions over a year will have a low transformation rate into squamous carcinomas, but those who have many lesions outbreaks over a year will have a higher percentage converting into these carcinomas.  People who have this condition should always be carefully examined by a medical professional.

Actinic keratosis lesions can be treated by definitive treatment may delayed for patients who undergo spontaneous remission and have only a few superficial lesions.  Preventing exposure to the sun is ideal for anyone with these lesions, even if the lesions are in remission.  Cryotherapy treatment is used for superficial lesions in most cases.  Acid peels and sun screens can also help some individuals, but a medical professional should always be consulted before using any sort of treatment.