Preventing Actinic Keratoses (Sun Spots)



Most people living in Australia will be affected by Actinic Keratoses at some stage of their lives.

Actinic keratoses are small, red, scaly spots that can feel like dry, sandpapery skin.

They are a direct result of ultraviolet radiation, which is why they most commonly occur in sun-exposed areas, such as the face, forearms, and hands.

They are also commonly known as Sun spots. If left too long untreated some may develop into the second most common Skin Cancer in Australia- Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

The primary cause of Actinic Keratoses is UV radiation from sunlight therefore the key for prevention of this skin condition therefore starts with adequate sun protection.


The following techniques can help to protect skin from the UV rays in sunlight and prevent actinic keratosis:

-Avoid extended exposure to sunlight

-Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a hat to protect areas of skin that might be exposed to the sun.

-Use a broad spectrum sunscreen( SPF 30+ and above) on exposed areas of the skin


In general, it is best to keep out of the sun or in a shaded area when the UV level is 3 and above, as the sunlight and UV radiation are the strongest and most likely to cause damage to the skin cells. Use the free SunSmart app to get a real time UV level measurement before heading outdoors.


Another technique is to keep your skin in a condition that enables optimal skin health. Looking after skin inside and out will help keep skin in great condition to prevent dry skin which is more prone to Actinic Keratoses.

The following techniques can help keep your skin in good condition:

-Drinking plenty of water

-8 glasses a day at the very least and eating a diet that is rich in nutrients

-Lightly exfoliating sun exposed areas atleast 1- 2 times per week in the shower

-Moisturise your skin every night after your shower and pores will be open and will absorb the moisturizer better. It doesn’t need to be an expensive product . A basic crème which includes Vitamin E can be just as effective.


References

Krutmann, J., Berking, C., Berneburg, M., Diepgen, T., Dirschka, T. and Szeimies, M. (2019). New Strategies in the Prevention of Actinic Keratosis: A Critical Review.

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