There are three types of keratosis: actinic keratosis, seborrheic keratosis, and keratosis pilaris. Among these three types, the most common is actinic keratosis. Neglecting actinic keratosis may in the worst cases result in having skin cancer.
The skin’s outermost layer known as the epidermis is where you will find actinic keratosis (also known as solar keratosis). It is usually recognized by the abnormality of the keratinocytes which mainly compose the epidermis. Actinic keratosis is considered as a precancerous skin condition as apparent to the formation of squamous cell carcinoma whenever it is left untreated. The affected individual is recommended to keep track of the condition of the skin because actinic keratosis may lead to squamous cell carcinoma.
Older men as well as those who are light-skinned are the regular candidates of this skin condition. However, there are cases in which the first signs of actinic keratosis are seen during the early thirties. Those individuals who are likely to be exposed to the sun are on the whole the ones who are commonly affected by actinic keratosis. The regions of the body where the growth is usually present are the face, the neck, the back of the hands the forearms, and even the legs, as these are the areas that are highly exposed to the sun. A bald mans scalp and ears have no protection from the hair and so they can often burn resulting in actinic keratosis.
The discovery of actinic keratosis early is done through feeling the skin. More often than not, the small regions are rough and light brown. The small region of the growth may become reddish or pink later on when it develops. The size of a common lesion is as small as one millimeter and as large as two centimeters in diameter. The growth sometimes develops outwardly as it becomes thicker.
There are two chief causes of actinic keratosis:
Exposure to cancer-causing factors is the first basic cause of actinic keratosis. Being frequently exposed to the sun may be the reason why actinic keratosis is present. This skin condition correlates itself to the overall exposure to sun during the lifetime of the affected individual. When one is always under the sun, he is likely to be exposed to the ultraviolet light from the sun which is carcinogenic. The chances of having cancer of the skin are elevated in those who are exposed to certain chemicals. One example is arsenic. Another thing that causes increased risk of developing skin cancer is ionizing radiation such as radiotherapy.
Another basis of actinic keratosis is genetics. There are cases wherein genetic syndromes cause skin cancers to develop although this is rare.
Actinic keratosis may be present on your body, so it is important to always check your body. Consult your local GP if you are having doubts about the condition of your skin.