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Solar keratosis – treatments

Healthcare Inspectorate WalesSolar Keratosis is very common, particularly among older people.

Solar keratoses, sometimes called ‘actinic keratoses’ are patches of dry scaly skin caused by too much ultraviolet light from the sun over many years.

Solar Keratosis usually appear on the face, arms and hands

Solar keratoses is a pre-cancerous change.

However solar keratoses may rarely develop into a skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma.

This cancer is malignant, and is usually fairly slow-growing and can be easily treated. However because of its cancerous potential it is important that solar keratosis is identified and treated as soon as possible. It is important to note that not all solar keratoses develop into cancer – the majority disappear on their own or never develop further.

It is impossible however to predict which solar keratoses are harmless and which will develop into cancer. As a result all solar keratoses  should be treated. It is important to recognise that solar keratoses are a warning sign of high exposure to UV light over many years and may therefore act as a warning  that a person may also be at risk from more serious skin cancers called melanoma.