The damage in the skin caused by UV rays accumulates and augments in
the years after exposure. UV damage is therefore the result of the
accumulation over the years of UV exposure. The older we get, the more spots
appear on the most sun-exposed parts of the body, like the face, décolleté and
the back of the hands. Lighter skin types are more prone for UV damage.
Excessive sun exposure will prematurely age skin, called Heliodermie or photo-
ageing, with changes in skin colour (brown and red spots), irregular texture, loss
of hydration and deep wrinkles (solar elastosis).
Excessive UV exposure can also cause more serious changes to the skin’s
immune functions that can lead to actinic keratosis and skin cancer.
Actinic keratosis are very common and are considered precancerous. They
appear mainly on sites repeatedly exposed to sun especially the face (nose,
cheeks, forehead) and the backs of the hands in fair-skinned people. They
appear as yellow-grey thickened crusts, are quite adherent to the skin and grow
back when they are scratched off.
Treatments may include cryotherapy, curettage or topical creams but recurrence
is frequent. The most effective treatment is PhotoDynamic Therapy (PDT). If not
treated they are at risk of developing into a skin cancer named a squamous cell