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Actinic keratoses (AKs)

Medical Dermatology

Actinic keratoses (AKs)

Actinic keratoses (AKs) are lesions on the surface layer of the skin (epidermis) caused by chronic exposure to sunlight, particularly ultraviolet light. AKs occur when the cells that comprise 90 percent of the epidermis, the keratinocytes, change their size, shape and/or organization in a process called cutaneous dysplasia. AKs typically manifest as rough or scaly skin, bumps, mottled patterns and cutaneous horns. They may appear anywhere on the skin surface exposed to sunlight, but common areas include the face (including ears and lips), neck, arms and hands. Lesions range in size from a pinpoint to several centimeters in diameter and may be yellow, brown, red or violet, smooth, wrinkled or furrowed.

Actinic keratoses can signal the onset of skin cancer; they can become squamous cell carcinomas, the second-most common form of epidermal skin cancer. For this reason, during the treatment process, surgical biopsy is frequently performed on AKs to determine whether cancer has developed.

To learn more about Actinic keratoses (AKs) make an online apointment.

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