actinic keratosis
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What is Actinic Keratosis?

Actinic keratosis, also known as solar keratosis, is a scaly precancerous patch that appears on sun-damaged skin. It causes rough, scaly patches of skin. Squamous cell carcinoma, a kind of skin cancer, can develop from Actinic Keratosis if it is not treated. Squamous cell carcinoma, a kind of skin cancer, can develop from Actinic Keratosis if it is not treated. Sun protection is the most effective way to avoid Actinic Keratosis. Source

Types of Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratoses are commonly categorized into 5 categories. The most prevalent subtypes are atrophic and hypertrophic.

  • Hypertrophic – Chronic sun and ultraviolet exposure is the main cause of hypertrophic actinic keratosis. The disorder is more prevalent in places exposed to the sun with a background of solar-damaged skin, in elderly men, in people with fair skin, in people who work outdoors, in people with impaired immune systems, and in those who have a history of severe childhood sunburns. 
  • Bowenoid – Bowen’s disease is a very early form of skin cancer that’s easily treatable. The primary symptom is a red, scaly patch on the skin. It affects the squamous cells in the skin’s outer layer and is also known as squamous cell carcinoma in situ.
  • Acantholytic –  Acantholytic dyskeratosis is a histological reaction pattern that is characterized by suprabasal clefting with acantholytic and dyskeratotic cells at all epidermal levels. Source
  • Pigmented
  • Atrophic 

What causes Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratoses are the result of abnormal skin cell development caused by UVB DNA damage. They are more likely to appear if the immune system is compromised, which can occur as a result of aging, recent sun exposure, a predisposing disease, or the use of certain drugs. The most common cause of actinic keratosis is excessive ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. UV light is emitted by the sun or from indoor tanning equipment such as tanning beds. UV light can harm your skin’s outer layer of cells, known as keratinocytes. Source 

Risk Factors

Over time, actinic keratoses can appear on anyone. However, some risk factors increase a person’s chances of getting them.

  • A history of sunburns or excessive sun exposure living in a sunny location 
  • An Immune system weakened by disease or cancer immunotherapy.
  • White skin
  • Are over 40 years old
  • Have light-colored or blue eyes and red or blonde hair
  • Work outside
  • Working with tar or coal, which contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) 


Actinic keratosis typically manifests first as rough, raised pimples on your skin. They can be any color, but frequently have a crust on top that is yellow or brown. These glitches could be:

  • Gray.
  • Pink.
  • Red. 

similar to the tone of your skin.

Additional signs can include:

  • Bleeding.
  • stinging, itching, or burning.
  • scaly, dry lips.
  • Skin growths resemble the horns of animals and protrude.

lips that have lost their color.

Diagnosis and treatment

Actinic keratosis can typically be identified by a clinician or dermatologist by a basic visual examination. If necessary, they can request a skin biopsy and send a sample for laboratory analysis.

A person will frequently notice the tiny patch of skin that forms with this illness. A person should consult their doctor as soon as possible if they notice any new bumps or changes to their skin in order to help identify any issues early.

Several treatment options for actinic keratosis may be recommended by doctors. These can be crucial in preventing the disease from progressing to cancer.

The following treatments can be used in tandem:

  • medication
  • surgery
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT), uses drugs and light to kill cancerous and precancerous cells
  • The composition of treatment plans will vary according to the individual’s preferences and the severity of their symptoms. 

For severe cases of actinic keratosis, doctors may prescribe topical creams and ointments. Among the medicated creams are:

  • Gel diclofenac sodium
  • Cream imiquimod
  • A Cream containing 5-fluorouracil 

Home Remedy

Actinic keratosis can be treated naturally using some of the following methods:

  • Apple cider Vinegar
  • Virgin Coconut oil
  • Green Tea
  • Water Intake
  • Imiquimod cream
  • Tirbanibulin ointment
  • Castor oil
  • Dietary changes

Can Actinic Keratosis be prevented?

The primary methods of preventing actinic keratosis are lifestyle changes. When going outside, one should take the following precautions:

  • Limit your exposure to the sun.
  • Apply sunscreen.
  • Wear a hat and clothing that completely covers your legs and arms when you’re out in the sun for extra sun protection.
  • Regularly check your skin, and let your doctor know if anything occurs.
  • Avoid using tanning beds.
  • Avoid going outside between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun is the brightest. Source

Check out various Skin conditions and all the detailed info on each of them at Skin Problems