Skin Cancer Clinic

Make an appointment now for your yearly Skin Cancer check – skin cancer checks are bulk-billed.

What you should know about sunspots

What are sunspots?

Sunspots (or solar keratoses) are rough, scaly spots or patches on any area of the skin that has been in the sun. They can be skin-coloured or reddish brown. Crusts that are white or yellow often appear. Sunspots feel rough like sandpaper, and may be easier to feel than to see.

A person may have a single sunspot, but as the sun can damage a large area of skin, more sunspots can appear over time. Sunspots can be as small as a pinhead, while others may grow to be larger than a 10 cent piece.

Sunspots may fade, stay the same, or change into something more dangerous.

Some skin cancers can develop from sunspots in people who are at risk.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can have a sunspot, but they are more common in people who are:

  • Fair-skinned
  • Over 40 years old
  • Organ-transplant patients
  • Have been outdoors for long periods of time because of work or hobbies

Look out for these danger signs

  • Skin becomes thicker
  • Spot is painful/tender
  • Spot is growing quickly
  • Size is more than 1cm
  • There is redness or bleeding
  • Sunspot becomes an ulcer

If you notice any of the features mentioned above, show your doctor.

Protect yourself and your family from sunspots and skin cancer

  • Use sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB rays
  • Wear clothing that covers your skin, such as long pants, collared shirts and long sleeves
  • Choose lightweight, closely woven fabrics. Look for clothing labelled with a UV protection factor (UPF) of 50+
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim, and don’t forget your sunglasses
  • Protect your children from the sun in the same way
  • Avoid the sun in the middle of the day, and try to stay in the shade if possible
  • Do not use sun lamps, tanning booths or tanning laps

Remember to do regular WHOLE BODY CHECKS on yourself and your loved ones

This includes checking area that are normally hidden from the sun, because skin cancer can develop anywhere on the body. Show your doctor if you find anything new or different on your skin.