Actinic keratosis, or solar keratosis, are considered the earliest stage in the development of skin cancer. They are small, scaly spots most commonly found on the face ears, neck, lower arms, and back of the hands in fair-skinned individuals who have had significant sun exposure.
Actinic keratoses is treated by cryotherapy (freezing), topical chemotherapy (applying a cream or lotion), chemical peeling, dermabrasion, laser surgery, curettage, photodynamic therapy, or other dermatologic surgical procedures. Some actinic keratoses may progress to advanced stages that require more extensive treatment. Proper use of sunscreens can help prevent actinic keratoses even after extensive sun damage has already occurred.