Actinic keratoses, or solar keratoses are considered the earliest stage of skin cancer. They are most commonly found in fair-skinned individuals who have had significant sun exposure, usually over the face, ears, neck, lower arms and back of the hands.
Typically, actinic keratosis occurs as one or more, small flesh- to red-colored scaly spots, patches or bumps. Sometimes they may grow upward, resembling a "horn" (cutaneous horn). Some may occur on the lower lip resulting in persistently scaly, cracked spots.
The main concern regarding actinic keratoses is that they can give rise to a type of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma. They also represent significant sun damage to the skin, therefore people with actinic keratoses should visit their doctor regularly for a skin examination and screening for skin cancer.
Various treatments are available at Our Skin Centre for the treatment of actinic keratoses, including CO2 Laser, biopsy and surgical removal, topical chemotherapy (Imiquimod, 5-Fluorouracil), and photodynamic therapy.