Sunspots

Sunspots, which are also called solar or actinic keratoses, are pink or tan coloured scaly spots that feel slightly rough to the touch. They occur commonly in people over 40 with light skin and hair/eyes and on skin that’s often exposed to the sun.  Most common areas are the face, tips of the ears, back of hands and forearms. 

Sunspots can be a warning sign that you’ve spent too much time in the sun without appropriate sun protection, and indicate that you have a higher risk of developing skin cancer in the future.

Squamous cell carcinoma can develop from solar keratosis.  If your sun spot feels thicker and slightly raised off the surface of the skin, it may be an indication that it has progressed from solar keratosis to intraepidermal squamous carcinoma (IEC) which is a superficial form of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). 

Solar keratosis is often treated with destructive treatments to individual lesions, such as cryotherapy (freezing treatment) or with a field treatment to the area.  Individual destructive treatments are usually used if there is a limited number of discrete spots to treat, and has the advantage of being cheap and quick.  Field treatments are usually used when there is a large area affected by large numbers of solar keratosis lesions or when the entire area is affected to some degree with solar keratosis and individual treatment is not practical.  Field treatments include Efudix, Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), Aldara, Solaraze or Picato