Also referred to as Precancerous skin lesions.
Actinic keratosis is a flaky thickening of the outermost layer of skin, caused by ultraviolet damage, either from sun exposure or indoor tanning. These lesions are very common, especially in patients with fair skin types, and are most often seen on the scalp, face, ears, neck, chest, arms and hands. A small percentage of these lesions will eventually turn to a skin cancer over time, called squamous cell carcinoma. This is not the same thing as melanoma but it can still be harmful and can get quite extensive if left untreated.
There are many ways to treat actinic keratosis, including liquid nitrogen, a variety of creams, and other destructive methods. You and your doctor will determine the best treatment for you, depending on the number and location of your actinic keratoses, how thick they are, and other factors such as your age and other medical history.