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Actinic Keratoses

Sun damage and sunspots 

Abnormal skin cell development is DNA damage from UVB.  While the appearance of actinic keratoses varies they are aften seen in multiples. They can also be referred to as sunspots. 

Actinic Keratoses Causes


Actinic Keratoses are usually seen on places repeatedly exposed to the sun, such as the ears, nose, cheeks, lips, forehead and scalp. With repeated sun exposure, sunspots may be seen on other parts of the body. This sun damage is caused by ageing, sun exposure, predisposition to disease or particular drugs. 

What to look for? 

  • A flat or thickened palpable lesion

  • White or yellow; scaly, warty or horny surface (as pictured)

  • Skin coloured, red or pigmented

  • Tender or asymptomatic

Having extensive Actinic Keratoses increases your risk of having skin cancers. If you have more then 10 Actinic Keratoses there is a 10-15% increased chance of developing a Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC).  

Actinic Keratoses Treatment


Actinic Keratoses are treated for multiple reasons; they can be uncomfortable, deformed or pose an increased skin cancer risk. 

How are they treated? 

  • Physical Treatments - Cryotherapy, Shave, Curettage and Electrocautery

  • Topical Treatments 

  • Photodynamic Therapy

Prevention and daily use of 50+  broad-spectrum sunscreen is the best prevention method. 


Image is taken from DermNetNZ

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