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.