Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratoses appear as red, dry, scaly, patches which appear on sun damaged skin.They are considered to be pre cancerous by some experts. If left untreated, some actinic keratoses can progress to squamous cell carcinoma. It is therefore important to treat actinic keratoses appropriately. It is also prudent to treat the entire zone of sun damaged skin and not only the obvious area of concern.

What are the treatments for actinic keratoses?

Many treatments are available and the type of treatment offered would depend upon the extent of actinic keratoses, thickness and suited to your lifestyle. These may include:

  • Creams- such as diclofenac gel, 5 Fluorouracil cream, tirbanibulin
  • Cryotherapy using liquid nitrogen
  • Chemical peels such as TCA
  • Biopsy or curettage specially if there is doubt about the diagnosis.
  • PDT-photodynamic therapy- Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a technique that is used to treat certain types of skin cancers such as superficial Basal cell carcinoma and Actinic Keratosis (AKs) which are areas of sun damaged skin (pre-cancerous) that might become cancer in the future.PDT uses a light-sensitive chemical called a photosensitiser. This photosensitiser is not active when it is applied to the skin without light. However, when red light or daylight then shines onto the skin where the photosensitiser was applied, the photosensitiser is activated. This causes changes in the oxygen molecules (oxidisation) in abnormal skin cells. These “excited” oxygen molecules kill the abnormal cells. Only the area of skin exposed to both the photosensitiser and to the light will be affected and inflamed. After the inflammation clears, the sun damaged skin will either be cured or improve.