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Sun damage and Actinic keratosis
UV damage: Excessive sun exposure can cause premature ageing, including changes to colour, texture and hydration.
Pigmented lesions (Lentigo solaris or -senilis), develop gradually through exposure to sunlight over the years. The older we get, the more spots appear on the most sun-exposed parts of the body, like the face, décolleté and the back of the hands. Lighter skin types are more prone.
Prevention by careful UV protection is the best way to avoid age spots and UV damage. The damage in the skin
by UV rays accumulates and augments in the years after exposure. UV damage is therefore the result
of an accumulation over the years.
It can also cause more serious changes to the skin’s immune functions that can lead to actinic keratosis
(precancerous lesions) and skin cancer.
Actinic keratosis are very common and are considered precancerous. They appear mainly on sites repeatedly
exposed to sun especially the face (nose, cheeks, forehead) and the backs of the hands in fair-skinned people. They appear as yellow-grey thickened crusts, are quite adherent to the skin and grow back when they are scratched off.
Treatments may include cryotherapy or topical creams but recurrence is frequent. Currently the most
effective treatment is PhotoDynamic Therapy (PDT). If not treated they are at
risk of developing into a skin cancer named a squamous cell carcinoma.