Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis (AK) is a common precancerous skin lesion resulting from chronic sun exposure. Our dermatologists recognize the clinical features and risk factors associated with AKs, which  is crucial in preventing progression to invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Fair skin, advancing age, and cumulative UV exposure (tanning beds) are among the key predisposing factors for developing AK.

Diagnosing AK involves a thorough clinical examination, focusing on identifying rough, scaly, red papules or plaques typically found on sun-exposed areas such as the face, scalp, ears, and dorsal hands. While AKs are generally asymptomatic, they can become tender or irritated, prompting patients to seek medical attention.

Treatment options for AK aim to prevent malignant transformation and improve cosmetic appearance. Modalities such as cryotherapy liquid nitrogen,  topical therapies (e.g., imiquimod, 5-fluorouracil, diclofenac), chemical peels, and photodynamic therapy are commonly employed, each with its advantages and considerations based on lesion characteristics, patient preference, and comorbidities.

Patient education is integral in AK management, emphasizing the importance of sun protection measures, regular skin examinations, and adherence to treatment regimens. Educating patients about the potential risk of progression to SCC and the need for long-term surveillance fosters a proactive approach to skin health. By providing comprehensive evaluation, personalized treatment plans, and ongoing support, dermatologists play a crucial role in minimizing disease burden and improving outcomes for individuals affected by actinic keratosis.

Nashville Dermatology Physicians


1001 Health Park Drive Suite 470,
Brentwood, TN 37027


7:00 am - 4:00 pm


7:00 am - 4:00 pm


7:00 am - 4:00 pm


11:00 am - 6:00 pm