Also known as solar keratosis, actinic keratosis is a skin condition that is caused by too much sun exposure. This condition is characterized by the formation of lesions (keratoses), which in some cases can become cancerous. However, it is impossible to tell which lesions have the potential to become malignant. Therefore, treatment is recommended to remove any lesion that you may have. The Dermatology Clinic offers different dermatology treatment options to cure patients of this skin condition.
If you have several keratoses, medicines can be used to treat the entire affected area. Most of the medications that are available come in skin creams and gels, such as diclofenac sodium gel, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) cream, imiquimod cream, and ingenol mebutate gel. Depending on the type of medication prescribed, the period for using these treatments range from two days to three months. These medications work by boosting the immune system so that the body can get rid of the diseased skin cells. While using the medicines, be aware of several side effects such as redness, swelling, and crusting. It’s important to consultant with a dermatologist immediately if you experience any complications.
In some cases, a dermatologist may recommend photodynamic therapy as actinic keratosis treatment. During this process, a chemical is applied to the affected area. After one hour, this area is exposed to a special visible light, such as a laser or blue light. The light helps to activate the chemical to destroy the skin lesions. Possible side effects of this treatment include a burning sensation during the process, swelling, and redness.
Also known as freezing, this procedure involves the use of liquid nitrogen, which is applied to the lesions. The solution causes peeling or blistering on the affected area. As the skin heals, the lesions shed, giving way to new skin. This is an in-office procedure, and only takes a few minutes. There are several side effects that are linked to this treatment including scarring, blistering, skin texture changes, and discoloration of the skin.
Sometimes referred to as scraping, curettage is an in-office procedure whereby the dermatologist uses a tool called a curette to remove the lesions. After scraping, the doctor may use electrosurgery. This is a process that involves the use of an electric current to cut and destroy the affected skin cells. You will be given a local anesthetic before undergoing this treatment. Patients may experience several side effects such as changes in skin color, scarring, and infection.
There are also other treatment options that a dermatologist may recommend, such as laser surfacing and chemical peels. As a patient, it is important to consult with your doctor to choose the right treatment that suits your situation. Your doctor will address each actinic keratosis treatment and its possible side effects during the consultation. Our experienced doctors at The Dermatology Clinic are available to help you manage this condition. You can visit our clinic at any time during our working hours for assistance.