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Actinic Keratosis: Causes And Symptoms

Dr. Amitoj Garg 89% (402 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy
Dermatologist, Mohali  •  8 years experience
Actinic Keratosis: Causes And Symptoms

Actinic keratosis is a medical condition in which there is a formation of rough scaly patch on your skin due to excess and prolonged exposure to the sun's rays. It is also known as solar keratosis and is commonly found in the areas of ears, lips, forearms, scalp and neck. They take years to develop and a small percentage of cases can even develop into skin cancer. Read on more to find out all about the different causes and symptoms of actinic keratosis.

Causes: The primary cause for actinic keratosis is due to frequent or intense exposure to the UV rays either from the sun or from tanning beds. It has been seen that although people of all ages can be affected by actinic keratosis, people who are above the age of 40, people who live in sunny climates, people who have a history of frequent or intense exposure to the sun or sunburn, people with a history of actinic keratosis and people with a weak immune system are more prone to be affected by actinic keratosis.  

Symptoms: Actinic keratosis has distinct features and if you have developed such symptoms, then you are more than likely to be suffering from actinic keratosis. 

  1. Existence of rough, scaly or dry patches of skin concentrated in certain parts of the body. These patches are usually less than 1 inch in diameter. 
  2. They are usually flat and in some cases can be slightly raised in the form of a bump on the top most layer of the skin.
  3. In some instances, however, they can have the form of a hard wart like surface.
  4. These bumps or lesions can be pink, red, brown or flesh colored. 
  5. Intense itching and burning can occur in the affected area.
  6. Actinic keratosis occurs primarily in the areas of the body, which have been exposed to the sun's rays the most. These include the face, ears, lips, back of the hands, forearms, scalp and neck.

As it is very difficult to differentiate between cancerous and noncancerous spots, it is recommended to consult a doctor and opt for treatment.

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