Management of actinic keratosis in primary care

Primary Care Dermatology Society

This guideline has been developed by the Primary Care Dermatology Society. A grant was obtained from Leo Pharma to cover the costs of the honoraria, meeting, and venue. Leo Pharma was not involved in the development of the guideline.


"An actinic keratosis (AK) is a common sun-induced scaly or hyperkeratotic lesion, which has the potential to become malignant. NICE estimates that over 23% of the UK population aged 60 and above have an AK. Although the risk of an AK transforming into a squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is very low, this risk increases over time and with larger numbers of lesions


  • Men are more affected than women
  • AKs are a consequence of cumulative long-term sun-exposure and so the incidence increases with age
  • Artificial ultraviolet (UV) radiation—such as UVB and psoralen combined with UVA (PUVA), which is used to treat psoriasis and a number of other skin conditions—and the use of sun beds increase the risk
  • Genetic factors play a role and individuals with fair skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair are at higher risk

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