Solar keratosis, also known as actinic keratosis, is a skin condition linked to sun damage. Solar keratosis is characterised by rough, scaly patches of skin in sun-exposed areas. These patches can vary greatly in colour and size and may also be accompanied by skin redness or have a yellowish "crust". Solar keratosis is very common and generally harmless/benign. In some cases it will clear up itself without any treatment, however, in a few cases it can "progress" and could lead to the development of skin cancer.
Solar keratosis is a sign of skin that has been damaged by the sun. As we age our skin's ability to repair itself diminishes and, as such, we are more likely to develop conditions like solar keratosis when our skin is overly exposed to harmful UV rays.
Because solar keratosis is directly linked to sun damage it is most commonly found on areas that are most exposed to the sun such as the backs of the hands, the face, neck, ears and scalp.
Solar keratosis is most common in people over the age of 50. Those who work outdoors or who have had more exposure to the sun can develop them at an earlier age.