Solar Keratosis Remedies

Last Modified on Feb 17, 2014

Solar keratosis is considered the most common skin condition that results from repeated sun damage over many years. While the condition is typically harmless, a small risk exists that a solar keratosis patch may develop into skin cancer. As such, appropriate treatment must be taken, including effective natural remedies.

What is Solar Keratosis?

A solar keratosis is a rough, scaly patch or growth on a sun-exposed area such as the face or head. Caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation, a solar keratosis typically develops over many years. The growths range in size from the thickness of a pinhead to 2 or 3 cm in diameter. The growths typically appear light, dark, pink or red in color and may have a yellow-white scaly crust.

Home Remedies for Sun-Damaged Skin

Treatments for solar keratosis focus on restoring the natural elasticity and balance of the skin. Treatments also work to eliminate damage and restore the composition of damaged skin. A number of treatments have been identified; however, apple cider vinegar, iodine and green tea are among the most effective.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar functions as a natural balancing agent. This treatment is typically used in combination – internally and externally – which serves to restore the natural pH of the body and skin. Apple cider vinegar also eliminates the scaly growth that is common with solar keratosis.


Iodine is a natural antifungal and anti-inflammatory agent, making it an effective treatment for skin conditions. Applied directly to the affected skin, iodine naturally eradicates infected cells without harming healthy cells. The compound also contains vitamins and minerals important for maintaining general skin health.

Green Tea

Green tea is a warm, astringent liquid that possesses a number of therapeutic properties. Green tea contains a number of bioactive compounds, including polyphenols, which treat skin conditions as well as a variety of other health disorders. Green tea can be drank or applied as tea bags to soothe the skin and treat damage.

A solar keratosis is an unsightly, thickened, scaly growth on the skin that is the result of repeated skin damage. While typically harmless, the condition can progress to cancer if left untreated. As such, natural remedies that eliminate damage and restore skin health are crucial for preventing more aggressive conditions.


Apple Cider Vinegar12 YEAS

Apple Cider Vinegar

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Apple Cider Vinegar Treatment for Solar Keratosis

Home Remedy Ingredients:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar - 1 Teaspoon
  • Water - Large Glass
  • Cotton Balls

1. Use a cotton ball to apply a bit of apple cider vinegar (ACV) directly to the affected skin 2-3 times a day.

2. Supplement with a daily ACV Tonic—Take one teaspoon of ACV (honey optional) and mix it in a large glass of water. Drink with breakfast or each meal of the day. Increase the ACV in each glass to as much as 2 tablespoons.

[YEA]  10/10/2013: Cobbit from Farnham, Uk: "I was prescribed Efudex for my first solar keratosis in 2008, using it for 6 weeks, and whilst it did work, it left me with a pale mark on my cheek. I recently developed another keratosis, this time on my nose, and my search for a kinder alternative remedy brought me to this website. I used apple cider vinegar and am relieved and happy to be able to say that it has worked. After about four days of applying Raw ACV, a scab developed, and just over two weeks later it has fallen off leaving no sign of the keratosis. Do try it, for me the whole treatment was so quick and now I have plenty of vinegar left over to use for salad dressing!"

09/22/2013: Tracy from Austin Texas: "I have been trying apple cider vinegar for about 5 days. Applying twice daily and sleeping in my legs wrapped in gauze soaked in ACV. I have about 4 spots that look like a hole has been burned in leg and is yellow and very swollen. Should I keep applying to these spots or stop? Thank you for help! I have been using chemotherapy cream for almost a year with no change at all! I can already tell they are getting better but just worried about these spots that look really bad. Thanks for any advice!"

09/22/2013: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe replies: "Tracy, slow down with your applications. Do much less even if it will take longer to heal."
09/23/2013: Nano Writer from Hotspot, Texas replies: "Tracy, it has been my experience that the growths will get inflamed, turn black, hurt, etc. Before they get better. I compare it to what happens when the body fights an infection from a cut and the area gets swollen, red and painful as the body's immune system does battle. Judging from my own experience and readings about treating skin growths with alternative treatments, what you are seeing is pretty much to be expected."

09/15/2013: Philip from Newcastle, Staffordshire, U.k.: "I was diagnosed with solar keratosis in March 2013 and prescribed a Diclofenac Sodium gel (Solaraze) for 90-day application to treat the itchy rashes on my forehead.

The 90-day use was somewhat effective but upon stopping (as the prescription was then expired), the rashes came back with a vengeance.

I looked for a natural alternative and found this website, for which I'm now very grateful. I washed Apple Cider Vinegar into the affected areas morning and night and also took a tablespoon of ACV with sweetening and healing Manuka Honey morning and night too. Straightaway I could see and feel the rashes healing. Now, two months on, I've just been back to the dermatologist who found that all but a small patch on my nose was completely healed. There's some barely visible scarring which I imagine is because the keratosis damages the skin quite deeply. I hadn't been paying so much attention to the patch on my nose but I am doing now, applying the ACV.

Throughout this time I've worn a baseball cap when I go outside if there's any sun to aggravate the rashes. Early on, I forgot my cap one sunny day and the rashes were aggravated so today I'm still using the cap for protection, probably best to do so, I guess."

[YEA]  08/21/2013: Chris from Texas: "I got tired of my Dermatologist poo-poohing then suggesting cutting, scraping, freezing or burning the solar keratosis on my left cheek. Not on my face! This very site turned me on to the apple cider vinegar cure. Applying religiously for three weeks has caused the red patch, originally the size of a pencil eraser, to almost completely disappear. Apply several times daily (more on weekends or when one isn't working) with a q-tip, be patient, and watch the magic slowly happen. The key is to not quit, no matter how bad the keratosis looks, because the apple cider vinegar will attack vigorously at first, even sting and burn. I can't wait to crow about this simple, cost-effective, at-home, remedy when I see the Dermatologist next May. Keep in mind that often times doctors are looking out for their own wallets, not your personal well-being. Who wants to be cut, scrapped, burned, or frozen when, with a little patience, the results can be this rewarding? Thanks to everyone who posted before me about this amazing cure! It's great to have my confidence back and be able to look at myself in the mirror again!!!"

[YEA]  08/20/2013: Steve from Dublin, Ireland: "Hi all, I would just like to say I have used ACV on several solar keratosis over the last few months and Yes it definitely works a treat. It takes a good while sometime 4-8 weeks to clear them up but it is definitely worth it. I started applying the vinegar on two on my temple and after a week more appeared and all went crusty, I kept applying the ACV day and night week after week and eventually they all fell off. So the key I found was not to give up and keep at it until they clear. O yeah I also drink it and will continue to do so, have had a cold or been sick in the last year. Thanks Earthclinic brilliant website."

[YEA]  07/27/2013: Ex-nurse from Canterbury, New Zealand: "Twelve days ago, the doctor diagnosed a 'scab' patch on my nose as solar keratosis. I checked the internet and discovered the apple cider vinegar method of treatment. I applied a. C. V. Several times a day and drank a glass with one teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar each day. On the 11th day I noticed the scab - which had been becoming firmer, shrunken, then whitish, had dropped off, leaving just a pink mark.

I've not been back yet to find if there are any other suspicious patches, but none are visible, as far as I can see..."

[YEA]  05/03/2013: Biff from Peterborough, Ontario: "After asking my doctor to look at a rough patch on my face for 6 years, and dealing with his constant... don't touch it and you'll be fine, I treated my solar keratosis with Apple Cider Vinegar. I soaked a piece of cotton ball in it and placed it over my keratosis with a bandaid at night while I slept. The site I read up on said to do this for 3-4 weeks. After a couple of days it gets red and looks like a bee sting on your face. Then it begins to dry and crack, mine even bled a bit. I was going to give up but kept persevering. After the 3 week the dry scab fell off and my skin was completely smooth. I couldn't believe it. the following summer I was in the sun and the spot began to reappear so I did it again only not as long. I think were people doubt this remedy if it is a solar keratosis is that they don't do it long enough. Or they see it turning red or dry and stop. I think the key is to keep going for several weeks. I swear by it.


12/29/2013: Diane from Port Hope, On replies: "Hi all, , , I have a keratosis sore just above my upper lip. I have been applying ACV several times a day now for three weeks. Some days it bleeds (perhaps due to its location) but most of the time, it just scales over and starts all over again. The last couple of nights, I have placed a band aid over the sore after the ACV treatment, and left it over night. Today when I removed the band aid, all was removed, raw skin was exposed, and it (slightly) started to bleed a bit and harden once again. I am starting to see some improvement, with the band aid at night. Should I keep trying this? or do I need to search medical help? I prefer a natural treatment if at all possible. Thanks in advance.

PS, I am drinking it orally (1tbs a day)"

[NAY]  04/30/2013: Kgd from Saint Louis, Mo: "I treated 10 actinic keratosis lesions that were in a 3"X4" area on top of my head using apple cider vinegar. I slept every night with a stocking cap over duct tape holding a cloth soaked with ACV against the affected area. There was a very strong reaction. I felt a mild burning sensation every night, they turned red, repeatedly formed scabs, and gradually seemed to fade. The skin became smooth but the outlines of the lesions were still there.

As the first batch of AK's faded, about 20 more AK's of various sizes appeared within the same area, so I continued the treatment. ACV gently removes the outer layers of skin, and I otherwise wouldn't have known that I had so many AK's because they were hidden underneath the skin.

I continued the treatment every night for many weeks because I wanted to give it a chance to succeed. During that entire time the change was so gradual that I was never really sure if it was helping or not.

After 3 months the affected area looked so bad that I started wearing hats in public. At that point I decided to try something else. Within 48 hours of stopping the ACV treatment the smooth AK lesions became rough again indicating that ACV had no effect other than exposing AK's that were previously hidden underneath the skin."

10/16/2010: Mexicogirl from Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico: "I live in Mexico and cannot find good natural (with mother) vinegar. Will just regular vinegar that you use in cooking work as well? Trying it on keratosis and also several dark spots on face. Thanks so much."

09/28/2012: Clo from Oakland, Ca replies: "Will begin a regimen of APV to address one stubborn spot of AK on left cheek; have also a spot on upper lip, but as has been my method for years, just keep scraping the small ones off, apply calendula or some other soothing ointment, and eventually the tiny ones go away. Was surprised that a month or so of mild dermabrasion with an OTC product actually worked on a problematic one on nose where my glasses rest--that one was stubborn."

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]  01/15/2009: Bob from Fanwood, New Jersey: "I was diagnosed in August '08 with solar keratosis on the top of my head. It was frozen off and reappeared. I tried castor oil from an Edgar Cayse remedy and it became scaly and fell off and grew back. This happened above 3 or 4 times. I started my research on natural remedies and began the internal and topical ACV 3 days ago. I was not sure it it was me wanted to beleive there is a change going on or if there really is one. It's only been a few days..but my girlfriend said she noticed my face has a pink and healthy change. My hands began getting more supple as I had dry skin. The keratosis is not as scaly and a little smoother. I have also began a strict diet with juicing and basic supplements of c, zeolite, d, omega 3, and a multi. I will post again next week."

[YEA]  12/14/2008: Kimberly from New York, NY USA: "I would like to enthusiastically offer my support for apple cider vinegar in the cure of various skin ailments. WARTS: I dipped a very small piece of cotton in ACV, put this directly on the wart, then covered all with an air-tight bandage. I left on for c. 12 hours, then let the entire area breathe for 12 hours. I repeated for about 3 weeks, as this was a deep and large wart. The first 2 applications stung and throbbed a bit, but from then on, the entire enterprise was painless. The area eventually ulcerated--looks messy for a while--and painlessly peeled off. No more wart! As maintenance for about 3 more weeks, I dabbed a little ACV on the area, without bandage. The wart has not recurred after more than a year and a half! This really works, folks!

ACTINIC KERATOSIS: My dermatologist identified this on my skin just above my upper lip. She offered to burn it off with liquid nitrogen: no, thanks. I followed the same ACV routine, and it worked! Took a lot less time, as this keratosis was not deep.

BENIGN PAPILLOMA: I am currently eliminating a little bump from my nose that I've had for over 10 years: it is in the red and ulcerating phase and about to sluff off.

I am THRILLED with the way ACV works to remove skin ailments! This method is cheap, safe, and natural. The skin afterwards is perfectly healthy and not scarred: quite preferable to liquid nitrogen or fluorouracil-5 or other harsh chemicals. Try it!"

[YEA]  12/13/2008: David from London, England: "Solar keratosis or actinic keratosis:

The following natural skin remedies completely failed to cure the solar keratosis on my forehead: calendula ointment, aloe vera gel, sea buckthorn ointment -- all wonderful things for various other skin conditions, but didn't do it for solar keratosis. Diclofenac ointment worked fairly well, but the keratosis came right back when I stopped the diclofenac and besides I'm not interested in using any drug, especially not long-term.

Then I read the comments at this web site on apple cider vinegar. I had some in the kitchen for use in a couple of pork recipes, so I tried it. I applied it topically to the keratosis morning and evening and took it internally (mornings-only) about 1 to 2 teaspoons in half a glass of water. Results: total magic, my forehead has not felt this smooth for several years.

Taking the vinegar internally probably has other advantages in terms of alkinizing the metabolism (it has an alkinizing effect even though it itself is acid -- acetic acid).

PS: Since it is a liquid, not an ointment, applying it is a bit tricky; I put some in the cup of my hand and then dipped my head down into it."

[YEA]  10/27/2008: Chariese from Colorado Springs, CO: "I am 24 years old african american, women. In the past few years I had developed a thick crusty scaly dark-spot on my lower lip. I dont have insurance so I searched online to see what it might be after looking and looking and looking I found Actinic Keratosis and found out that that is what it was. I had tried every lip balm sun screen, vitamin E, flax seed, pealing it (which made it bleed) to get rid of it. Nothing worked and if it made a difference it was very short lived. Then I started looking into natural cures for it, I cam across this site which said to try apple cider vinegar. So I went to the health food store and bought the best Organic apple cider vinegar I could find. I chose _____ apple cider vinegar with the mother in it. (dont ask me what that means but that what it said on the bottle. Well I am VERY VERY Happy to report that IT WORKS. I took 1tsb at nite and 1tsb in the morning and now after 2 weeks it is completely gone!

Thank you so much YEA for your report, people were beginning to think I had herpes."

[YEA]  10/01/2007: Cathal from Canberra, Australia: "On Friday 14 September 2007 I went to the doctor. I'm 63. While there I asked him to take a look at my Knuckles on my left hand, which have had a rough dry scaly bumpy patch with a yellow white crust, which I have had for several years making my hand look pretty ugly. Nothing that I have tried could ever shift it. He said that it was Solar Keratosis (also known as an actinic keratosis) and gave me a computer print out article. He said that there was a slight chance that it could eventually turn into a skin Cancer called squamous cell carceinoma. I asked how to get rid of it and he listed: freezing it with liquid nitrogen, cutting it out or scraping it off under a local anesthetic, or using a creme or gel that could take up to three months to work and which may cause inflammation and blistering, or I could have Laser surgery or he could cauterize it with a searing hot iron or an electric current or use caustic burning substance. Uh-oh! When I got home I hit the internet quick smart and looked it up the malady on this and other sites. I then looked through my cupboards and found some Apple Cider Vinegar that my deceased wife had bought over 12 years ago. I tried some right away topically and went to the Health Food store and got some "fresh" ACV (imported from the USA) with the "Mother" in it. Today is the first of October (about two weeks later) and with 2 or 3 glasses a day of a 'splash' of ACV, bit of local honey and spring water from the supermarket plus a cotton bud tip as a device to put some of the old ACV on the knuckles, they are now completely clear! The skin is smooth, there's no roughness and some other assorted skin irritations have cleared up as well. My usual 'aches and pains' are far less prevalent. I am also less "Down" and feel generally quite a bit more positive. Sleep is deeper and less disturbed with getting up in the night reduced to once or twice a night with some nights being slept all the way through. I also seem to have more energy and less appetitie (which is good as I am getting more girth with age)! I also have far less indigestion. The only "side effect" was a few whitehead pimples at the beginning few days, which I took to be my skin generally throwing off some bodily toxins. If I am having a so-called "placebo effect" or if some learned academic says that this is really only "mind over matter" or the "power of suggestive thinking", or if someone says that my doctor "mis-diagnosed" me, well, I don't care! The damn unsightly thing has disappeared, leaving me feeling much better all 'round! It is the cheapest and most effective alternative I have ever tried and I am pleased that I don't have to undergo any painful or expensive chemical or surgical procedure (even though medical care is free for everyone in Australia). The ACV works for me! And for only a few cents a day of natural healthful ingredients. I can now gladly put my hand up as a happy ACV customer!"

06/11/2008: Mark from Fort Kent, Maine replies: "Solar Keratosis Remedies: I read the posts on this at this website and thought, 'What the heck, a gallon of Apple Cider vinegar costs $3. I'll give it a try and if it doesn't work, I'll use it to kill weeds.' Well, just like the guy said about the place on his hand, I had two places on my face with Actinic Keratosis that I've been trying to treat for years to no avail. Nothing would respond to them. Now, after 8 days of applying ACV topically and taking two tblspoons orally twice a day, they are gone. The skin has healed completely over. It's amazing. I might have spent hundreds of dollars to treat these at a clinic, when ACV did the trick in a few days. The most welcome and amazing 'cure' I've ever experienced. A big 'thank you' to this website for providing the information!"

[YEA]  08/09/2006: Linda from Las Vegas, NV: "I read on your site where it cured solar keratosis under a woman's eye. I have had solar keratosis all over my legs and arms for years. I am fair skinned and grew up in the desert. Dermatologists told me there was nothing I could do to make them go away. Recently I decided to try ACV and to my astonishment they are just about gone. It is the most remarkable thing I have ever seen. I used to be embarrassed to wear shorts they were so bad. Now they are so close to being gone that I am now wearing shorts. I applied it directly to them twice a day. The smell does go away! It really does work. I am so thankful I read this woman's article. Thank you."

12/15/2009: Gwendoline from North Shore City, New Zealand replies: "I have been using apple cider vinegar to remove solar keratosis. I have hundreds of the little blighters on my arms and legs. I've been applying to one forearm to see if it works. Twice a day for two weeks now. They seem to be a bit redder but not gone.

I wondered how long it takes.

I had one particularly bad pink keratosis so I put a piece of cotton pad, soaked in the ACV, and left on overnight and it went very red and developed a scab and all the skin around it has gone red and rough. I have stopped giving it the intense treatment now and just waiting till it calms down.

I am also drinking about 2 desertspoons of the ACV in water two to three times a day.

I have read conflicting reports about ACV. I have had a sore throat for the last 24 hours and gargling the ACV with half ACV and half water.

It has definitely helped. I will keep you informed as to how I get on.

Cheers Gwendo"

12/27/2009: Gwendoline from North Shore City, New Zealand replies: "Hello again

I said I would update you on my use of apple cider vinegar for solar keratosis.

At this stage all of the keratoses on my forearm are very red and appear to be forming scabs. The one keratosis that was very bad to begin with is nearly gone.

There are light pink spots where keratosis that must have been under the surface of the skin are starting to show up. It has been nearly five weeks of twice a week application. Sometimes at night I just keep soaking my arm in the vinegar with a cotton pad. Maybe about four applications. I am also drinking about two tablespoons a day with water.

I will get back to you in three weeks time to let you know whether the keratosis are completely gone. I am very hopeful as I look at the changes in them.

It does take perseverance.
Cheers Gwendo."

10/01/2010: Jennifer from Bedford, England replies: "Hi I have suffered with solar keratosis for 15yrs having biopsies on my nose, eye lids, which have been removed due to keratosis. I recently have had a bad outbreak on my lips and top lip, I have tried everything, and when I got on your site I read that people are using apple cider vinegar, I have started using it so hopefully this might work. Ive been in so much discomfort using the solaraze gel, it hurts, stings, and looks so ugly when your skin is peeling of. Has anyone else got any other remedies, I sure need them, Help"
06/25/2013: Patti from Georgia replies: "How long did it take using ACV to see results?"



DISCLAIMER: Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.


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