What are Sun Spots?
Sun Spots, also known as solar keratosis, are considered to be a condition affecting an area of the skin and not just the individual spots. Invisible sun spots are (underneath the skin) estimated to be 10 times more frequent than visible sun spots.
Sun spots may develop into non-melanoma skin cancer if not adequately treated. It is important to treat both the visible and invisible sun spots, in the area of damaged skin, so as to prevent future development of non-melanoma skin cancer.
Diagram: Layers of the skin and development of these lesions
Who is at Risk?
Anyone can have a sun spot, but they are more common in people who are:
If you are someone who has spent a lot of time outdoors, not only is it important to protect your skin from the sun, but also check it for any changes. A simple check, and knowing your own skin, can help save lives.
Checklist of Warning Signs
It is possible to learn how to do a step-by-step self skin check at home.
You will need the following:
Comb or hairdryer
Get your partner, family or friend to check hard-to-see areas of your skin.
Do a check regularly, on either the first of the month or first day of each season.
If you find anything suspicious, take a photograph of the lesion to compare it with later checks.
If you notice any of the warning signs, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible.
Whole body skin checks can also be done at a skin cancer clinic.
Treatments for Sun Spots
There are two main types of treatments for sun spots: