DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
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An actinic keratosis (ak-TIN-ik ker-uh-TOE-sis) is a rough, scaly patch on your skin that develops from years of exposure to the sun. It's most commonly found on your face, lips, ears, back of your hands, forearms, scalp or neck — areas of skin typically exposed to the sun.
An actinic keratosis, also known as solar keratosis, enlarges slowly and usually causes no signs or symptoms other than a patch or small spot on your skin. An actinic keratosis takes years to develop, usually first appearing in older adults. Many doctors consider an actinic keratosis to be precancerous because it can develop into skin cancer.
You can reduce your risk of actinic keratosis by minimizing your sun exposure and protecting your skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays.
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