AK is more common in older adults. It is also more common men. Other things that may raise the risk are:
- Fair skin color
- Living in sunny places
- Having a weak immune system, such as from an organ transplant
- Having xeroderma pigmentosum—a rare genetic disorder that causes increased sensitivity to the sun's rays
- Having chronic lymphocytic leukemia—a cancer of the blood and bone marrow
Treatment depends on whether the AK is mild or severe. A mild AK may be watched to check for changes over time. A severe AK may be treated to lower the risk of skin cancer. This may be done with:
- Medicine put on the skin over time to remove the AK
- Photodynamic therapy (may be combined with laser treatment)
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
Copyright © EBSCO Information Services
All rights reserved.
American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org
American Osteopathic College of Dermatology http://www.aocd.org
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca
Actinic keratosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/actinic-keratosis . Updated August 13, 2019. Accessed November 19, 2019.
Actinic keratosis. The Skin Cancer Foundation website. Available at: http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/actinic-keratosis. Updated May 2019. Accessed November 19, 2019.
de Berker D, McGregor JM, et al. British Association of Dermatologists' guidelines for the care of patients with actinic keratosis 2017. Br J Dermatol. 2017 Jan;176(1):20-43.
Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs. Accessed November 19, 2019.