Scaly spots or patches on the top layer of skin. With time the spots or patches may become hard with a wart-like surface. Actinic keratosis is a rough, scaly patch on your skin that develops from years of exposure to the sun.
Frequently Asked Questions
An actinic keratosis sometimes disappears on its own, but it typically returns after more sun exposure. Because it’s impossible to tell which patches or lesions will develop into skin cancer, actinic keratoses are usually removed as a precaution.
However, if this is not done, they can bleed, ulcerate, become infected, or grow large and invade the surrounding tissues and, 3% of the time, will metastasize or spread to the internal organs. The most aggressive form of keratosis, actinic cheilitis, appears on the lips and can evolve into squamous cell carcinoma.
Cryosurgery. Liquid nitrogen “freezes” the surface skin, which causes some skin redness and sometimes blistering until the area is replaced by new skin. This is the most used treatment for actinic keratosis.