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Summary features (1):

  • in the UK, incidence of 5.9-15% of the normal population over the age of 40 years
  • male to female ratio of about 2:1
  • increased prevalence with age
  • there an increased prevalence in areas with high local incident ultraviolet radiation (high altitudes and low latitudes)
  • incidence higher in individuals with a fair skin; also increased incidence in individuals with high cumulative lifetime sun exposure
  • there is an increased risk of actinic keratoses, and most non-melanoma skin malignancies, in patients receiving immunosuppressive treatment

Note that about 20-70% of solar keratoses regress spontaneously over 1-2 years, but typically 15% recur (2,3).


  1. Memon AA et al (2000). Prevalence of solar damage and actinic keratosis in Merseyside population. Brit J Dermatol, 142, 1154-1159.
  2. Harvey I et al (1996). Non-melanoma skin cancer and solar keratoses. I. Methods and descriptive results of the South Wales skin cancer study. Br J Cancer; 74: 1302-7.
  3. Frost C et al (2000). High incidence and regression rates of solar keratoses in a Queensland community. J Invest Dermatol; 42 (suppl 1):23-4.


Last reviewed 01/2018