Actinic keratoses (AKs) are precancerous skin lesions that can develop into squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. Treatment options for AKs include:
- Cryotherapy: This procedure involves freezing the AK with liquid nitrogen. This causes the lesion to blister and eventually peel off, leaving healthy skin behind.
- Topical creams: Topical creams, such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), imiquimod, and diclofenac gel, can be applied to the AKs to destroy the abnormal cells. These creams can cause mild skin irritation, redness, and itching.
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT): This procedure involves applying a light-sensitive cream to the AKs and then exposing them to a special light. The light activates the cream, which destroys the abnormal cells.
- Curettage and electrodessication: This procedure involves scraping away the AK with a curette (a sharp spoon-shaped instrument) and then using an electric current to cauterize the area.
- Surgical excision: If the AKs are large or in an area of the skin that is difficult to treat with other methods, a surgical excision may be recommended.
- Phototherapy: This procedure involves exposing the skin to UV light in order to treat the AKs.
The treatment option that is best for you will depend on the number and location of AKs, as well as your individual preferences. It's important to work with a healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist, to determine the best treatment option for you and to monitor the progress of the treatment.
It's also important to note that once AKs are treated, it's important to protect your skin from further sun damage by wearing protective clothing and using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, even on cloudy days.
Last updated : 1/27/2023