Alternate Names : Solar Keratosis
Actinic keratosis is a common premalignant skin lesion seen on areas of the
body that have been exposed to sun. Premalignant means that the lesions have
the potential to become skin cancer.
What is going on in the body?
Sun damage over many years causes changes in the skin. When the cells start to
grow in an irregular and unusual fashion, actinic keratosis may develop. The
lesions are not true deep or invasive skin cancers, but the area of skin is no
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Actinic keratosis is caused by long-term exposure to the sun. The number of
lesions increases with age. A person with light skin has a higher
risk of developing actinic keratosis. Someone who works outdoors, such as a
lifeguard or construction worker, is at greater risk. Certain antibiotics, such
as tetracycline, increase a person's risk.
altered immune systems are also at increased risk for actinic keratosis. This
people with HIV or
other acquired immunodeficiency
children born with
individuals who are taking powerful immunosuppressive medicines after organ
persons who are taking
chemotherapy for treatment of cancer or other disorders