Actinic keratoses, also termed solar keratoses, are dry, scaly skin patches damaged by the sun. The patches are usually minor. But there’s a slight chance they could become skin cancer, so avoiding further damage to your skin is essential.
Check if you have these kinds of patches:
- It can feel dry, rough, and scaly or resembling like sandpaper
- They are between 1cm to 2cm in size
- It can be the exact color as your skin or span from pink to red to brown
- It may feel itchy
The patches usually emerge on parts of your body that are often prone to sun exposure, such as your hands, face and arms, ears, scalp, and legs.
Treatment for actinic keratoses
If you only have one skin patch, the doctor might suggest waiting to see if it goes away.
Treatment is restricted if you have more than one patch or if a patch is producing problems such as pain and itchiness. The doctor might refer you to a skin specialist (dermatologist).
- Prescription creams and gels
- Cryotherapy, where the patches form into blisters and fall off
- Surgery- to remove the patches
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
If you have actinic keratoses, it’s essential to avoid sun damage.
- Utilize a standard sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 scale sunscreen before stepping out into the sun, and do not forget to reapply it regularly
- Wear a hat or clothing that surrounds your legs and arms when you’re out in the sunlight
- Stop using sunbeds or sunlamps, as these can lead to skin damage
- Avoid going out into the sun between 11 to 3 pm because the sun is at its peak during these hours
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 04 October 2022