Background Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a real-time non-invasive imaging tool, introduced in dermatology in the late 1990s. OCT uses near-infrared light impulses to produce images which can be displayed in cross-sectional and en-face mode. The technique has been used to image skin diseases especially non-melanoma skin cancer including actinic keratosis (AK). Morphological characteristics of AK can be visualized in OCT images and can be used for diagnosis as well as disease monitoring. Methods A systematic review of original papers on AK and OCT was performed on 31.03.16 and 24.10.16 in the major databases Pubmed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane and Svemed. Through database search and other sources, we identified 1366 titles of which 21 studies met the inclusion criteria and were used for further investigation. Results 16/16 Conventional OCT (cross-sectional images) studies described disruption of layers consistent with absence of normal layered architecture in the skin. Thickened epidermis was found in 14/16 studies and white (hyperreflective) streaks and dots were described in 11/16 studies. In High-definition optical coherence tomography (HD-OCT) images disarranged epidermis (cross-sectional images) along with an atypical honeycomb pattern (en-face images) was found in 5/5 studies and well-demarcated dermo-epithelial junction (DEJ) (cross-sectional images) was described in 3/5 studies. Conclusion Several morphological characteristics of AKs were identified using Conventional OCT and HD-OCT. It is suggested that these may be used in the diagnosis of AK. Additional validation is however required to establish consensus on the optimal diagnostic criteria.