Diseases Which Increase Sun Sensitivity

A few diseases, most of them uncommon, can increase sun sensitivity. Others may be worsened or precipitated by sun exposure. Consult your physician if you think this situation may be applicable to you.


The changes discussed in here are the result of sun exposure over a period of years. Even after a severe sunburn they do not appear overnight.

A number of changes occur in the sun-exposed skin of older people. The most significant of these are skin cancers and thekeratoses which can develop into cancers. The likelihood of these cancers developing depends on the skin sensitivity, age, and accumulated exposure by the individual. As with sunburn, fair-complected people who burn readily are the most vulnerable. In addition, members of certain occupational groups are particularly prone to higher levels of sun damage; farmers, sailors, and fisher­man develop skin cancers much more often than people who work indoors.

ACTINIC KERATOSES (Solar or Senile Keratoses)

These are rough spots which appear on sun exposed surfaces. Most are red, but some may be tan, brown, flesh-toned, or yellow­ish. Actinic keratoses are usually multiple, and can often be felt more easily than seen. Some individuals develop dozens of these lesions, some of which may thicken and coalesce. About 25 percent of individuals with actinic keratoses will develop one or more skin cancers. It is said that about 15 percent of individual actinic keratoses go on to become skin cancers.

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