Actinic keratoses are red scaly lesions that develop from long term exposure to the sun. They are viewed as pre-cancers with the potential to become cancers known as squamous cell carcinomas (SCC). Anywhere from 12 to 40% of individuals screened in dermatology clinics have actinic keratoses on the scalp. These lesions are far more common on the scalp in men than women, this is in part due to the increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation in men with hair loss. About 1-10 % of actinic keratoses will become a squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) over a 10 year period if left not treated. Approximately 1-2 % of SCC will metastasize making early treatment important.
Actinic keratosis: a cross-sectional study of disease characteristics and treatment patterns in Danish dermatology clinics. Erlendsson AM, et al. Int J Dermatol. 2016.
Prevalence of actinic keratosis among dermatology outpatients in Spain. Ferrándiz C, et al. Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2016.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299