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Solar comedones

Author: Dr Amanda Oakley MBChB FRACP, Dept of Dermatology Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand, 1999.

Solar or senile comedones arise on the face of the middle-aged and elderly. They affect areas that have been exposed to sunlight over a long period of time, particularly the cheeks, which may become yellow and leathery (solar elastosis).

The comedones may be open (blackheads) or closed (whiteheads). There may also be larger cysts.

Solar comedones are not related to acne vulgaris and do not usually become inflamed. They are however very persistent.

Favre-Racouchot syndrome

Solar comedones in association with elastosis (yellowish thickening and furrows) is also known as Favre-Racouchot syndrome. It may affect the skin around the eyes, the temples and the neck. It is thought to be due to a combination of sun exposure and heavy smoking.

Management

If these measures are unhelpful, the comedones can often be removed by cautery, diathermy or laser treatment. They may recur and require further treatment from time to time.

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Skin lesion photography

Watch Dr Amanda Oakley presenting "Skin lesion photography" at The Australasian Skin Cancer Congress.

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