Sunny With a Chance of Skin Damage


A 56-year-old woman has several lesions she is worried might be cancerous. Added to that, there have been changes to her facial skin over the past several years that are increasingly obvious to her friends and family and therefore concerning to the patient.

She has an extensive history of nonmelanoma skin cancers, including basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, which were removed from her trunk in the distant past. She has lived in the southwestern United States all her life and has been smoking cigarettes since age 14.

The patient’s skin is quite fair, with abundant evidence of sun damage. She looks considerably older than her stated age.

Fortunately, no skin cancers are found on examination, but many closed and open comedones can be seen on both of her cheeks, stippled on rough, weathered skin. Solar elastosis manifests in this area as diffuse white thickening—what some might call “chicken skin.”

What is the diagnosis?

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