Skin problems due to sun exposure

Different types of skin problems can be caused by excessive, long-term exposure to sunlight, including non-cancerous, pre-cancerous, and cancerous conditions.

Non-cancer skin

Photoaging

  • Skin color changes
    • Solar lentigo: Tan or brown spots on sun-exposed parts of body, especially backs of hands
  • Premature wrinkles
  • Loose, irregular skin

Pre-cancer skin

Actinic keratosis

Rough, sandpaper-like, scaly skin spots that can later turn into skin cancer

Skin cancer

Basal cell carcinoma

The most common form of skin cancer. Spreading (metastasizing) to other parts of the body is very unlikely. Best treated when detected early. Can be cured with proper treatment.

Squamous cell carcinoma

The next most common form of skin cancer. Spreading (metastasizing) to other parts of the body is also very unusual. Best treated when detected early. Can be cured with proper treatment.

Malignant melanoma

The life-threatening form of “black mole” skin cancer. Early treatment can be curative. High likelihood of spreading to other parts of body if not treated early. Often causes death if treatment is delayed.

Last reviewed: 
April 2018

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