Skin damaged by the sun

On parts of your body that have often been in the sun or under a tanning bed, the skin can be permanently damaged, which can cause rough spots. We call this ‘sun-damaged skin’ or ‘actinic keratoses’. These spots are harmless in themselves. However, in 5 to 10% of cases, they can develop into skin cancer. It is therefore important to have these keratoses treated regularly.

Recognizing sun-damaged skin

Actinic keratoses look like small rough spots, usually the same color as your skin, sometimes to a slightly darker red or brown. They are a few millimeters to several centimeters in size. You will find them mainly on areas of skin that have often been in the sun. On the face, on the bald scalp, on the backs of the hands and forearms, and – especially in women – on the chest (the décolleté).

Actinic Keratoses – Diagnosis

An experienced dermatologist can visually see whether you have actinic keratoses. In case of doubt, the dermatologist will remove a small piece of skin under local anesthesia and examine it microscopically.

Treatment of actinic keratoses

Treatment of sun-damaged skin is necessary because you run the risk of developing skin cancer on the spot. There are various treatment methods, such as freezing with liquid nitrogen, a cream, or a special light treatment (photodynamic therapy). With most treatments, the skin becomes red and irritated or the spots can get worse before they disappear. After a few days, your skin will calm down and the actinic keratosis will have disappeared.

What can you do yourself

Whether you have actinic keratoses or not (yet), our recommendations are always the same: limit exposure to the sun or tanning beds. If you do spend a lot of time outside or if you absolutely want to sunbathe, use a cream with a good sun protection factor to prevent (further) damage to your skin. Unfortunately, there is a good chance that new spots will nevertheless arise. Then we have to repeat the treatment.

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    Suspicious spots? Always come by.

    About 80% of all fair-skinned people over the age of 60 have actinic keratoses. So there is a good chance that you will also suffer from it. In case of changes in the structure and color of your skin, always ask the advice of a dermatologist. The first consultation is in any case reimbursed (think of the deductible) and even if nothing turns out to be wrong, you at least have certainty. If there is a problem, timely treatment can prevent it from getting worse. A referral letter from the general practitioner is required for insurance.

    Spots on exposed skin areas? Contact us for an appointment.

    Schedule an appointment in consultation with your GP or contact us directly. Call (020) 686 8655 or use our special contact page .

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    Asserring 184A
    1187 KL Amstelveen
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    Haarlemmerweg 25A
    1051 KN Amsterdam
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    Olmenlaan 159
    1404 DE Bussum
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    U-Clinic Hattem
    Eikenlaan 15
    8051 BD Hattem
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