Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis is commonly known as solar keratoses or sunspots.

Actinic Keratoses are pre-cancerous lesions that develop when the skin has been damaged by ultraviolet radiation and develop on sun-exposed areas of the skin.

It is a sign that the skin has been damaged by the sun and that there may be a higher risk of developing skin cancer.


They commonly appear as rough, dry and scaly patches on the skin and occur on areas of high sun exposure such as the face, back of hands, ears and lips.

The appearance can vary, even in the same person. Actinic Keratosis can occur as a single, isolated lesion or as multiple scattered patches. The size can also vary from 1mm to 2cm. The colouring may be pale, red or brown.


There are many options available for the treatment of Actinic Keratosis. This will depend on many factors and is to be discussed with our doctor.

The main aim of treatment is to prevent the lesions from turning into skin cancers. This will also improve both the appearance and texture of the skin.

Treatment may involve:

  • Cryotherapy

  • Curettage and cautery

  • Surgical excision

  • Field treatment with a medicated cream such as imiquimod cream

  • Chemical peels

  • Laser Therapy

  • Hydro-Dermabrasion


If treated early, Actinic Keratosis can be cured. The use of sunscreen and sun protection regularly has been shown to reduce the risk of developing new Actinic Keratosis.