Solar elastosis

MyPathologyReport
October 27, 2023


This picture shows an example of solar elastosis (green arrow) in the skin.
This picture shows an example of solar elastosis (green arrow) in the skin.

Solar elastosis is a non-cancerous skin condition caused by excessive long-term exposure to the sun or other sources of UV radiation. It is also known as actinic elastosis or photoaging, and it is considered a sign of sun damage to the skin.

Solar elastosis is caused by long-term exposure to the sun or other sources of UV radiation. UV radiation damages elastin fibers normally found in a part of the skin called the dermis. This triggers the release of enzymes that break down the damaged elastin.

Under the microscope, this change appears as a thickening of the skin’s dermis due to the accumulation of abnormal elastin fibers. The abnormal elastin fibers clump together and appear basophilic (blue-purple staining) instead of the normal eosinophilic (pink staining).

Is solar elastosis a precancerous change?

Solar elastosis is not a precancerous change. However, it is a sign of sun damage caused by excessive and long-term exposure to UV radiation which is associated with an increased risk of developing skin cancer. For this reason, this change is often seen next to skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

About this article

This article was written by doctors to help you read and understand your pathology report. Contact us if you have questions about this article or your pathology report. For a complete introduction to your pathology report, read this article.

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