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Br J Dermatol. 1998 Dec;139(6):1033-9.

The prevalence and determinants of solar keratoses at a subtropical latitude (Queensland, Australia).

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Merck, Sharp and Dohme, Granville, NSW, Australia.


We report the association between skin pigmentation and individual sun exposure, and the occurrence of solar keratoses (SKs) in an unselected population, quantified for the first time. SKs were examined in a representative sample of 197 residents of the community of Nambour in Queensland, Australia. Estimates of sun exposure were combined with a measure of ultraviolet (UV) flux to estimate actual UV exposure, both occupational and recreational, during childhood and adult life. The number of episodes of painful sunburn was used as a measure of intermittent, intense UV exposure. Eight-three participants (43%) had at least one SK, while 35 (18%) had more than 10 SKs diagnosed. The age- and sex-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for the development of SKs were higher in individuals with fair (OR = 14.1) or medium skin (OR = 6.5), compared with olive-skinned individuals. Individuals with poor ability to develop a suntan were similarly at increased risk compared with others. High levels of occupational UV exposure during adult life were confirmed as being strongly associated with prevalent SKs (OR = 2.4 for heavy/maximal adult exposure), with an even stronger association seen in those individuals with multiple SKs (OR = 4.3 for maximal adult exposure). Although no clear association was demonstrated between SK prevalence and accumulated childhood sun exposure, a history of even one episode of sunburn in childhood was strongly associated with SK prevalence (peak OR of 5.9 for one sunburn).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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