Solar keratoses

Also known as: 

Sun spots
Actinic keratoses

Solar keratoses are small lesions on the skin caused by exposure to the sun. They often appear as rough pink spots, but sometimes they are easier to feel than see. The most common locations are on sun-exposed areas such as the hands, forearms and face. Solar keratoses are not a skin cancer, but up to 10 per cent can develop into squamous cell carcinoma. They can usually be treated easily with freezing treatment or various prescription creams.


Skin lesions and conditions

Solar keratoses, also known as “sun spots”, are one of the most common signs of skin damage from long term sun exposure. If not treated, they sometimes develop into skin cancers. Fortunately there are many effective treatments.


Cryotherapy is the treatment of surface skin lesions by freezing. In skin cancer medicine, it is an easy, inexpensive and effective treatment for minor skin cancers and pre-cancerous conditions.

Medical treatments

Ingenol mebutate is a cream used to treat solar keratoses (sun spots). It is more effective than cryotherapy (freezing treatment) and recommended for people who have many sun spots. It only needs to be used for three days on the face or two days on the body, so any side effects are usually short lived.

The Molescreen Field Treatment clinic is a quick and effective way of treating resistant solar keratoses ("sun spots"). Patients attend Molescreen for two or three days in a row to have treatment applied by one of our nurses.

Vitamin B3 (nicotinamide) has been shown to be an effective way of treating solar keratoses (“sun spots”). There is also evidence that vitamin B3 can prevent common skin cancers.


Pamphlet thumbnail PDF icon Brush up on the facts about sun spots: pamphlet
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Information about solar keratoses and the most common treatment options (exludes information about ingenol mebutate/Picato)

Getting Started with Picato - front cover of pamphlet PDF icon Getting Started with Picato gel
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Leo Pharma Pty Ltd

Getting Started with Picato gel provides information for people who have been prescribed ingenol mebutate (Picato) for solar keratoses. There is information about how to apply Picato, what to expect while you are using it, and how to look after your skin during and after treatment.

Web links

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Coco-Scalp packaging