Eliminate Precancerous Actinic Keratosis Lesions!
If you’re over 40 and you’ve spent some time in the sun, you have probably noticed some changes in your skin. One common skin disorder for older adults is actinic keratosis (plural: keratoses, if you have multiple lesions). These small, rough patches on the skin are the result of the damaging effects of years of exposure to the sun. They appear on areas like your hands, forearms, face, ears and scalp, which tend to get more UV exposure than other parts of the body.
Actinic keratoses (AKs) are typically felt before they are seen. When visible, they can be raised, crusty, red or brown bumps that are sensitive or itchy, and they sometimes bleed and scab over. They may remain for several months and disappear, only to reappear in a different place.
If you’ve felt or seen these patches on your skin, it’s important to be evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist. The appearance of actinic keratoses means that your skin has been damaged by the sun, and if the damage is not reversed, skin cancer may develop.
Resolve AK before it can turn into skin cancer
Although many AKs are benign, studies report that up to 10 percent of AKs develop into squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. This is especially concerning for people who have many keratoses, since there’s no way for a doctor to determine which of them will become cancerous. Therefore, it’s best to take care of your AKs early, as a precaution.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) provides effective treatment with no scarring or side effects
Wasatch Dermatology is proud to provide photodynamic therapy for resolving actinic keratosis. This FDA-approved method uses Levulan®, a light-activated drug, which is applied to the skin. After allowing time for absorption, your specialist will apply an intense blue light, causing a chemical reaction with the medication which destroys the actinic keratosis lesions. Healthy skin is minimally affected because it absorbs less of the medication than the damaged skin cells.
The treated skin will be extremely sensitive to the sun for several days, and you may have some minor skin irritation. However, as it heals the new skin will be smooth and healthy. Make sure to have regular follow-up appointments with your dermatologist, especially for the first few years, since new AK lesions may still develop due to previous sun exposure.
PDT is effective for treating actinic keratosis because:
• it covers a larger area than freezing or scraping individual lesions
• it has no long-term side effects
• it’s less invasive than surgery
• it can be repeated at the same site if needed
• there are no prescriptions or messy creams to apply for weeks
• treatment is complete after one session
If you would like to find out more about actinic keratosis or PDT, call our office at 801-475-5210.