Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis

Can Actinic Keratosis turn into Cancer?

The short answer? Yes.

Close up of actinic keratosis

This skin condition, also known as solar keratosis, is often displayed as a rough scaly patch on the skin that is caused by years of sun exposure. Aside from its concerning appearance that resembles the look of warts, actinic keratosis is actually classified as a precancer.

When diagnosed quickly, all actinic keratoses can be removed with success. If left untreated, it is possible that this condition can develop into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.

What are the main causes of actinic keratosis?

  • Long-term sun exposure
  • Sun damage especially to those with fair skin
  • Prolonged exposure to artificial UV sources, in most cases, indoor tanning
  • Poor immune function due to aging
  • Predisposing disease
  • Immunosuppression drugs

What does Actinic Keratosis look like?



Flat to slightly raised, scaly, crusty, rough, sometimes with a raised horn shape or bump.



Dimensions vary from a tiny spot to as much as an inch in diameter.



Red, tan, pink, skin-colored, brown or silvery.



This skin condition shows up anywhere from the face and neck to scalp, shoulders and backs of hands, all areas exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays are susceptible to becoming affected.

Close up of actinic keratosis

Treatment for Actinic Keratosis

If you spot these types of lesions, it's best to get it checked out by a dermatologist.

Our board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Monica McCrary, has the expertise to diagnose the affected areas and predict the growth of the diseased cells. Treatment for actinic keratosis ranges from topical to surgical removal or combination therapy. In addition to ongoing treatment, Dr. McCray can build a plan with you for future prevention.

Call us today at (830) 971-5256 or request an appointment online.