Actinic Keratosis or Solar Keratosis Diagnosed and Treated by Mercy Dermatologists

Dermatology at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Mercy Medical Center's skilled dermatologists provide diagnosis and treatment of actinic keratosis (also called solar keratosis), a skin condition caused by repeated exposure to UV rays or indoor tanning.

About the Condition

Actinic keratosis is a skin lesion that tends to occur on the face and the back of the hands or other areas of the body that become damaged due to exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or indoor tanning. It is also known in the plural form as “keratoses” because patients with the condition typically have more than one lesion.

Actinic keratosis is considered precancerous because if left alone it may develop into skin cancer.

Actinic keratosis can be prevented with proper use of sunscreen and protective clothing while exposed to the sun.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Actinic keratosis develops after several years and repeated sun exposure or indoor tanning. There are typically no symptoms other than a rough, scaly patch of skin that eventually appears. The patch may be itchy and also may disappear and reappear again.

Skin conditions including actinic keratosis can be diagnosed during an exam with a dermatologist. Actinic keratosis may vary in look so it is important to see a dermatologist anytime you have a skin change. If there is ever question about a new lesion a skin biopsy can be performed to confirm a diagnosis.

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Actinic keratosis can develop into skin cancer so it is typically removed.

Various treatment options for actinic keratosis include:

  • Prescription medications (creams or gels to clear the actinic keratosis and heal the skin)
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Freezing (cryotherapy)
  • Chemical peels and laser resurfacing
  • Curettage (surgical removal)