Solar keratosis, which are better known as sunspots, are caused by ultraviolet light shining on the skin. These spots generally take many years to develop in exposed areas. Certain individuals tend to be more prone to developing them, and there is probably a genetic connection.
They’re often hard to tell from regular skin, but they’re usually slightly red, gritty to the touch and might be irritated if they get scratched. Eventually these can actually turn into squamous cell carcinoma. They usually become sore and lumpy, which is a clear sign of cancer forming. Doctors from the skin cancer clinic Melbourne will usually freeze them with liquid nitrogen in order to have them removed. This is the normal procedure when there are relatively few spots on a patient.
Large areas covered with sunspots often respond well to treatment with creams. Most of these are available only by prescription. Treatment can take between 3 days and 12 weeks depending on the severity of the condition and the cream used. Stronger treatments usually produce more inflammation, but take much less time.
Sensitizing chemicals can be placed on the skin before light is used to activate the chemical, which removes the sunspots with some mild irritation. Surgical means are sometimes used if sunspots persist, return or get painful as this could indicate a more serious skin cancer.