What are actinic keratoses?

Sun exposure over many years can cause changes on the skin. They appear as rough, scaly, skin coloured or red lesions which are known as sun damage spots called actinic keratoses (solar keratoses). They are common in fair skinned people with light coloured eyes who burn easily in the sun. They are found predominantly on sun exposed sites, particularly the back of the hands and face. They often cause little trouble but if a solar keratosis grows into a lump, becomes tender or bleeds then it may indicate that it is skin cancer.

How can actinic keratoses be treated?

Solar keratoses are usually treated because they are unsightly or uncomfortable or the risk of developing skin cancer in them is high. Treatments may include:

The choice of treatment is dependent on a number of variables which can be discussed at your appointment.

Even though you already have signs of sun damage , it is still important to prevent further solar keratosis form developing by protecting your skin from the sun by:

  • Wearing a hat.
  • Wearing long sleeves. 
  • High factor sunblock.