Actinic keratoses are known as the early beginnings of skin cancer, caused by long-term exposure to sunlight. Signs of actinic keratoses include rough, scaly skin, "bumps" on the skin, mottled skin or a cutaneous horn. Most appear on the face, ears, scalp, neck, backs of the hands and forearms, shoulders, and lips - the parts of the body most often exposed to sunshine. The growths may be flat and pink or raised and rough.The incidence of actinic keratoses is over 50 percent in older, fair-skinned persons, though people as young as teenagers and young adults can be affected in areas with year-round high-intensity sunlight.
Actinic keratoses are so common today that treatment for these lesions ranks as one of the most frequent reasons that people consult a dermatologist.
It is extremely important to consult a dermatologist or dermatological surgeon when an actinic keratosis lesion is suspected. Left untreated, this disease has the potential to progress to squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer that can be life threatening. While many treatment options are available, the most common method of treatment for actinic keratoses is cryosurgery.