Taking action

Sun damage can take years to develop and, even if you are careful to protect your skin now, if you have been sunburnt often in the past, particularly when you were a child, you might have an increased risk of developing actinic keratoses which can be a marker for skin cancer.


Most of the sun damage is done during Childhood.

So it is a good idea to check your skin for changes regularly (once a month), especially if you think you might be at risk of sun damage. Lesions that look like they are healing but never quite do, develop a crust, look scaly or have a hard top, bleed, or are itchy, could be signs of skin cancer.

Actinic keratosis, a marker of skin cancer risk, is often a red, scaly patch that is not always easy to see. It can vary greatly in size, shape and colour but is usually less than 1cm across with a scaly white surface. It can also be red, pink, skin coloured, or a combination of these. It often presents as a rough, sandpapery area so you should Check Your Skin for any unusual changes.

How to check your skin

What to do next

Treatment for actinic keratoses

Treatment for skin cancer

Reducing your risk of sun damage

Checking your skin regularly  


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