How can Actinic Keratosis be treated?
How can actinic keratosis be treated?
First of all, you should protect your skin from further sun damage. For instance by wearing a hat, long sleeves or sunscreen with a high SPF Factor 50. Avoiding sun between 11 am and 3 pm is also an opportunity. Even winter sun, which is more horizontal, can cause damage to the surface of the skin.
Occasionally your small actinic keratosis will go away spontaneously. But in general, they need treatment, as they may transform into a skin cancer. Dr Jennifer Crawley at Clinica London will treat actinic keratoses. And she is using some of the following options:
- Freezing with liquid nitrogen, known as cryotherapy. This option is efficient and does not generally leave a scar. But it can cause temporary discomfort
- Surgical removal. This is done under local infiltrative injection of anaesthesia into the affected area. The actinic keratosis is either scraped off with a little curette or cut out. And after that, the wound stitched closed with stitches. The surgical removal can leave a small scar. It does provide a specimen for analysis. After that sending it to the laboratory to confirm the diagnosis, especially if a squamous cell carcinoma has been suspected.
- Creams. There are special creams containing drugs. For instance, 5-Fluorouracil, Imiquimod or Ingenol Nebutate gel. Especially if there are several of the actinic keratoses. These creams destroy the abnormal superficial cells in the sun damaged skin. They can cause a lot of temporary inflammation of the area. Other creams, such as Diclofenac and Retinoic Acid are useful. Applying them to milder, small actinic keratoses. Similarly causing a little bit of redness before they are effective.
- Photodynamic Therapy. This is a special light which activates cream. Applying this to the affected area of skin, but it is only available in certain centres.
If you worry, that you have actinic keratosis and would like advice on their treatment. I hope that this blog has helped you to feel more comfortable in your skin. And know that it be treated by a dermatologist, with a good outcome in the majority of patients.