Actinic Keratoses

Actinic Keratoses (AKs) are common lesions on the outermost layer of the skin and are caused by long-term sun exposure. They can occur at any age. AKs are the first stage in the development of skin cancer. When unprotected skin is chronically exposed to the sun, damage is done to tough-walled cells called keratinocytes that make up 90% of the epidermis. This damage changes the cells, and can make the skin rough, scaly, or mottled. The skin may also become bumpy or have small horn-like growths. AKs can progress to squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, if further changes in the cell growth occurs.