Laypeople call them sun spots, but as a dermatologist in Houston, I call them actinic keratoses or AKs. AKs are dry, scaly, rough-textured patches or lesions (injured or diseased areas on the skin) that form on the outermost layer of the skin after years of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, such as sunlight.
These crusty growths occur on the bald scalp, face, ears, lips, backs of the hands and forearms, shoulders, neck or any other areas of the body frequently exposed to the sun. These lesions (diseased areas) typically range in color from skin-toned to reddish brown and in size from that of a pinhead to larger than a quarter. AKs also appear as invisible or subclinical lesions. Without treatment, AKs may develop into squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. It is unknown which AKs will develop into cancer, so taking action to treat existing AKs and taking future sun-protective steps, such as wearing sunscreen and sun-protective clothing and broad-brimmed hats are recommended.
At our practice, we offer a variety of preventative treatment options, and successfully treat AK’s with a variety of methods and our research division often conducts clinical trials at no cost to our participants. If you or someone you know has sun spots/AKs, please contact us at 713.850.0240 or check our currently enrolling trials.