It is estimated that 58 million Americans have “actinic keratoses,” those small rough patches of skin that develop due to repeated exposure to the sun’s rays. Because these pea-sized, scaly lesions can develop into skin cancer, patients often turn to dermatologists to remove them by freezing them, scraping them, applying chemical peels, or using medicated creams (sometimes for weeks). Now, a new treatment has been developed, known as “photodynamic therapy” (PDT). This treatment involves applying medicine to the skin that is only absorbed by problem cells. When a special light is then shone onto the skin, the actinic keratoses are destroyed. PDT works best for treating hard-to-detect actinic keratoses. It has minimal side effects.
If you spend a lot of time in the sun, you have an increased risk of developing actinic keratoses, certain types of skin cancer and various other skin problems. To reduce the risk of these conditions, always wear a broad spectrum sun screen with a sun protection factor (SPF), avoid mid-day sun (between 11 am and 3 pm) and wear protective clothing, such as a hat and long sleeve t-shirts. For more information, call ELMHURST DERMATOLOGY at 630-832-2111. Our office is conveniently located at 103 N. Haven Suite. We are accepting new patients. We strive to provide the highest care to our patients.
Todd T. Davis, MD
P.S. Another good treatment for eliminating actinic keratoses is a topical cream known as imiquimod (Aldara), which requires fewer applications than other creams and has milder side effects.
Older adults are more likely to develop “xerosis” (very dry skin) that leads to “pruritus” (itchy skin), one of the most common skin complaints among seniors. Without treatment, dry skin can lead to a vicious cycle of itching and scratching that can cause “lichenification” (hardened, thickened patches of leathery skin). Preventing dry skin largely consists of adding moisture and sealing it in while avoiding products that strip the skin of its natural oils. To this end, limit showers and baths to 5-10 minutes, and use warm water (not hot). After gently drying the skin, apply emollient (moisturizer) within three minutes to seal moisture in. Moisturizers containing lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerine, lanolin, mineral oil, and petroleum jelly are best.
As the body’s largest organ, your skin works constantly to protect the organs, regulate body temperature, and it reflects your overall health. If you notice or experience any changes to your skin, it’s best to see a dermatologist. Our goal is to provide only the highest quality, compassionate care for patients that need dermatologic care. For more information, call ELMHURST DERMATOLOGY at 630-832-2111. We provide all full breadth of dermatological services and most insurance plans are accepted. Our office is conveniently located at 103 N. Haven Suite. We are accepting new patients. We strive to provide the highest care to our patients.
Todd T. Davis, MD
P.S. If a simple at-home regimen of skin moisturizing doesn’t stop skin dryness and itching from leading to breaks and cracks in the skin, the dermatologist can prescribe a cream or an ointment.