Understanding Actinic Keratosis -- Symptoms

Medically Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on July 26, 2021

What Are the Symptoms of Actinic Keratosis?

Actinic keratoses most commonly occur on areas of skin that receive lots of sun exposure -- like the face, ears, the scalp of bald men, and the backs of the hands, legs and arms. The lesions may be skin-colored, reddish-brown, or yellowish-tan. They may look like a raised bump, be flat, or may feel like a dry patch of skin. The skin-colored lesions may be noticed more by touch, because they tend to feel like sandpaper.

Actinic keratoses are not tender, but if you have a lesion that fits their description and is tender, it may have morphed into a type of skin cancer. If you have any type of skin lesion that is new, tender, bleeding or changing in appearance, you should see a dermatologist.


Show Sources

American Academy of Dermatology.
Department of Clinical Social Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Germany.

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