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Actinic Keratosis

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.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerAmy McMichael, MD - Dermatology

Current as ofJuly 31, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 31, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.