Actinic Keratoses are considered precancerous and could develop into squamous cell carcinomas if left untreated. They are not caused by recent exposure, but by exposure from decades ago. These precancerous lesions occur years later as a result of changes that were made to the skin’s DNA at the time of exposure.
Patients often notice them as scaly pink patches that appear on their faces, scalps, extremities and/or lips. Actinic Keratosis should be evaluated, treated and monitored by a dermatologist. Early detection and treatment can often cure them before they become skin cancers.
Because AKs are the result of sun damage from years gone by, remember that new AKs can continue to appear, even with sunscreen use. Don’t get discouraged! Continue to protect your skin and to see your dermatologist regularly.