Solar keratoses, or sun spots as they are more commonly known, are skin lesions that develop as a result of exposure to the sun’s UV rays. The spots vary in size – from as small as 2 millimetres up to 20 millimetres across – and can be scaly or warty in their appearance. The colour of sun spots varies too, from a barely noticeable darkening in skin colour to a more obvious red.
They are very common on areas of the skin that are regularly exposed to the sun, particularly on the nose, cheeks, upper lip, temples, ears, forehead, neck and hands.
In some people, sun spots may be painful or itchy and might sting when they are exposed to sunlight or scratched.
In Australia, sun spots are particularly common in fair-skinned people and in those who have spent long periods of time outdoors without protecting their skin.
It is rare to find just one sun spot, usually the surrounding area is also damaged as the sun’s rays affect all skin and not just the exposed sunspot.
While they can be uncomfortable and unsightly, sun spots are generally harmless. However, they can develop into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). In patients with more than 10 sun spots, there is a 10-15% chance of the patient developing skin cancer. As a result, sun spots are generally treated, both for cosmetic and health reasons.
Sun spots are considered a field disease, as most sun spots appear in a field of UV damaged skin cells which surround the individual visible sun spot.
Invisible sun spots (the ones found underneath the skin) are estimated to be 10 times more frequent than visible sun spots because all unprotected skin receives UV radiation.
People with sunspots should get them examined by a doctor on a regular basis.
Intense Pulsed Light is a quick, simple and effective treatment, with no downtime, that helps fade the brown patches giving the skin a more even, ‘cleaner’ appearance within a few days.
Usually only 2-3 treatments are required at 2-4 week intervals.
Any area affected can be treated and these are most commonly the face, neck, décolletage, hands/arms and back.
For pigment that is more stubborn or deeper in the skin, we use The Fraxel® re:store Dual Laser.
It’s FDA approved to effectively treat age spots and other pigment irregularities with the added advantage of pore refinement,
improved skin texture and softening of fine lines and wrinkles!
Fraxel® treats a fraction of the skin at a time while leaving surrounding healthy skin intact, delivering remarkable improvement with minimal downtime.
Good sun protection is essential. Sunscreens containing physical blockers such as zinc oxide (‘Face’ SPF 30+)
and titanium dioxide are preferred over chemical blockers because of their broader UV-A and UV-B protection
and their ability to not only prevent burning but to also prevent the development of pigment.
The use of mineral make-up (Inika, Rationale Beautiful Skin) provides an added physical block and also contributes to
stopping pigment formation. They also give your skin good skin coverage, reduce the appearance of redness and lessen
the chances of chemical skin irritation.