Actinic keratoses, also known as solar keratoses, are rough, scaly patches of skin caused by damage from years of sun exposure. It’s most commonly found on your face, lips, ears, back of your hands, forearms, scalp or neck.
An actinic keratosis enlarges slowly and usually causes no signs or symptoms other than a patch or small spot on your skin. These patches take years to develop, usually first appearing in people over 40.
ACTINIC KERATOSIS CAN BE HELPED WITH: (WHICH TREATMENTS)
SYMPTOMS OF ACTINIC KERATOSIS
- Rough, dry or scaly patch of skin, usually less than 1 inch (2.5 centimetres) in diameter.
- Flat to slightly raised patch or bump on the top layer of skin.
- In some cases, a hard, wartlike surface.
- Colour as varied as pink, red or brown.
CAUSES OF ACTINIC KERATOSIS
An actinic keratosis is caused by frequent or intense exposure to UV rays from the sun or tanning beds. Anyone can develop actinic keratoses. But you may be more likely to develop the condition if you:
- Are older than 40
- Have a history of frequent or intense sun exposure or sunburn
- Have red or blond hair, and blue or light-coloured eyes
- Tend to freckle or burn when exposed to sunlight
- Have a personal history of an actinic keratosis or skin cancer
- Have a weak immune system as a result of chemotherapy, leukemia, AIDS or organ transplant medications.
PREVENTION OF ACTINIC KERATOSIS
If you have actinic keratoses, it’s very important to protect your skin from the sun. This can reduce the risk of more patches appearing.
To protect yourself from the sun:
- Cover your skin with clothes and a hat during the summer months
- Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 before going out into the sun
- Try to stay inside or in the shade when the sun is at its strongest (between 11am and 3pm)