Actinic keratosis, also called solar keratosis, is a skin growth that develops in sun-exposed skin, especially on the face, hands, forearms, and neck. It occurs most often in pale-skinned, fair-haired, light-eyed people beginning at age 30 or 40.
Actinic keratoses are persistent, noticeable, small red, brown, or skin-colored patches that may become scaly, scabbed, or crusted. The patches may itch, burn, or sting.
Actinic keratosis may become skin cancer, but this isn't common. Actinic keratoses may be treated with cryotherapy (freezing), electrosurgery (burning), curettage (scraping), photodynamic therapy (a treatment combining light and medicine), or medicines that are put on the skin.
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Donations to UW Health are managed by the University of Wisconsin Foundation, a publicly supported charitable organization under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.