Who is at risk for solar keratosis?

Solar keratosis is caused by repeated exposure to the sun, so people who are particular risk are:


Older people.

Because the skin damage caused by repeated sun exposure accumulates over time, solar keratosis is commoner in older people.


People who spend a lot of time outside, generally due to their job or hobbies

High-risk occupations for solar keratosis include people working in:

  • Building / construction
  • Farming and agriculture
  • Commercial gardening
  • Forestry
  • Park keeping
  • Gamekeeping
  • Tour guiding
  • Beach work
  • Lifeguarding
  • Crewing leisure boats
  • Professional sports

People are also at risk for solar keratosis if their hobbies mean they spend a lot of time outdoors


People whose skin type is particularly prone to sun damage

People with particular skin types, and with certain hair and eye colours are more vulnerable to skin damage in the sun:

  • Fair skin has less protective pigment than darker skin and so burns more easily in the sun.
  • Blonde or red haired people are more at risk for skin damage in the sun.
  • People with blue, green or grey eyes are also at greater risk.
  • But even people with olive or darker skins can suffer skin damage in the sun, particularly if they have spent a lot of time in hot countries with lots of sunshine or in jobs that involve working out of doors a great deal.
  • Solar keratoses are not hereditary, but some of the factors that increase the risk – such as fair skin, a tendency to burn in the sun rather than tan, and getting freckles – do run in families3.


People who have certain medical conditions or who are on treatments that make their skin more vulnerable to sun damage.

This includes people who have a weakened immune system due to having conditions such as AIDS, or to treatment such as chemotherapy for cancer or who are on immunosuppressants after having an organ transplant.