Actinic Keratosis

What You Need to Know about Sunscreen

The Latest in Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis Definition


Actinic keratosis (AK) is precancerous skin growths. It happens on sun-damaged areas.

Years of sunlight (UV) exposure damages skin. This causes it to grow abnormally. Patches on skin pale or redden causing a mottled appearance. Then rough, scaly, or crusted areas develop. These areas are usually pink, but can be gray. Sometimes a small horn of fingernail-like material grows. These lesions are more common in older men. This is probably related to occupational sun exposure.

The lesions are benign (noncancerous). They can occasionally convert to squamous cell skin cancer . This cancer must be surgically removed. AK changes to skin cancer in about 1 in 1000 cases. Patient that have many lesions have a higher chance of skin cancer.

AK may remain unchanged, spontaneously resolve, or progress to skin cancer. The fate of any one AK is impossible to predict. People with sun-damaged skin should see a doctor at regular intervals. The doctor will check for skin cancer .

Actinic Keratosis

© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

View Actinic Keratosis Definition & Overview
Get Email Updates

Related Topics

Actinic Keratosis Guide

Rosa Cabrera RN

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!


3875 Health


2446 Lives


2261 Lives
21 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Connect with Women Like You 47 Women Care About this Condition

You're not alone. Connect with other women who are going through what you're going through, who understand and are here for you!

+ Join this Community

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Have you joined the IUD trend? What kind of birth control do you use? :
View Results