An actinic keratosis (ak-ti-nik ker-ah-TOE-sis) or AK, is a rough, dry, scaly patch or growth that forms on skin that is damaged by ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or indoor tanning.
Most people get more than one AK. Anyone who has many AKs should be under a dermatologist’s care. Most people who have many AKs continue to get them for life. AKs are considered precancerous. Left untreated, AKs may turn into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
By seeing a dermatologist for regular check-ups, the AKs can be treated before they can become skin cancer. If skin cancer does develop and is caught early, it can be cured.