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Actinic Keratosis

Island Dermatology -  - Board Certified Dermatologist

Island Dermatology

Board Certified Dermatologists located in Newport Beach, CA & Glendora, CA & Downey, CA & Santa Ana, CA & Victorville, CA

Early detection is crucial in the fight to overcome skin cancer, which is why precancerous lesions like actinic keratoses need immediate treatment. At Island Dermatology, board-certified dermatologists Navid Nami, DO, and Leila Ettefagh, MD, are experts in identifying actinic keratosis. If you have skin growths you think may be precancerous actinic keratosis, call the Island Dermatology offices in Newport Beach, Glendora, Downey, Santa Ana, and Victorville, California, or book an appointment online right today.

Actinic Keratosis Q & A

What does actinic keratosis look like?

Actinic keratosis is a rough, scaly growth on your skin that frequently occurs in small clusters called actinic keratoses (AKs). You must pay attention to these growths because they’re the most common type of precancerous skin lesion.

At first, AKs are typically so tiny that they’re easier to detect by touch rather than sight. They feel rough and crusty, as if you were running your hand over sandpaper, and you may have more invisible AKs than visible ones.

You may have an actinic keratosis if you notice the following signs and symptoms:

  • Rough, scaly patches of skin
  • Itching or burning in the area of concern
  • Pink, red, or brown bumps that can be slightly raised or flat

AKs tend to start out very small and can slowly grow to about an eighth to a quarter of an inch. Sometimes, these lesions create a prickly, itchy, or tender sensation.

What causes actinic keratosis?

Years of exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun or tanning beds may cause an actinic keratosis to grow. For that reason, AKs are frequently called solar keratoses.

They can grow on any part of your body that gets a lot of sunlight but typically show up in the following areas:

  • Face
  • Bald scalp
  • Ears
  • Shoulders
  • Backs of the hands
  • Forearms
  • Neck

These lesions most often appear in adults over the age of 40. 

Can actinic keratosis turn into cancer?

Actinic keratoses are considered precancerous lesions. If left untreated, AKs can turn into squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer.

Since these precancerous lesions are so tricky to spot on your own and may even disappear before reappearing again, it’s imperative to see the team at Island Dermatology for regular full-body checkups.

If your doctor finds any instances of actinic keratosis on your body, they may suggest a biopsy. Skin cancer is often curable when found and treated early.

If you suspect you may have actinic keratosis, immediate action increases your chances of maintaining good health. Call Island Dermatology or book an appointment online right away.


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