UVA and UVB rays of the sun can cause harm to the skin if the sun exposure occurs over repeatedly and over a long time period. One of the skin disorders that may occur in this situation is the Actinic Keratosis (AK). It involves thickening of the outer layer or skin along with the formation of flat, rough and scaly lesions that are brownish or somewhat pink in color.
Face, neck, ears, forearms, chest, and backs of the hands are commonly affected with AK, especially among fair skinned and light haired people whose skin can get burns due to sun exposure. People who have outdoor jobs are also at a higher risk of actinic keratosis.
Profound and judicious dermatologist Dr. Steven Zimmet provides cutting edge solutions for AK and various other skin conditions to patients in Austin, TX, and surrounding communities and cities in this region of the state.
The lesions of actinic keratosis are pre-cancerous, which makes it necessary for a patient to seek professional skin care to get rid of this problem. Liquid nitrogen is one of the common solutions for this condition, which will freeze the lesions and cause them to detach from the healthy skin underneath. Other treatment options include topical anti-cancer medications, chemical peels and photodynamic therapy.
The patient will be required to protect the treated areas against sun to avoid any complications. They should wear long sleeves and a brimmed hat when outdoors during daytime, and use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. The sunscreen should be applied 15 to 30 minutes prior to the sun exposure, and used regularly.
Topical dermatology therapies may be recommended for larger affected sites. A topical treatment will take more time to deliver results, but the AKs can also be controlled for a longer time with it. Topical medical may have to be applied daily over a certain time period to achieve the targeted reaction over the affected area.
Significant reactions may occur in case of multiple lesions. Although scarring usually does not occur with topical therapies, but temporary side effects such as redness, oozing, and crusting in the treated sites may occur.
Cryotherapy involves application of liquid nitrogen in the affected areas. This is designed to create a blister that will flake off within a few weeks, and will be replaced with new skin. The AK will be quickly frozen with this process, but the blister can take up to 72 hours to develop. Cryotherapy has no significant side effects except temporary redness in the skin.
The dermatology expert will recommend a customized light, medium or deep chemical peel treatment, depending on the skin condition. Depending on the peel’s depth, the skin will peel off in a few days and fresh skin will replace it in the treated area. Redness and swelling may occur for some time as a side effect of chemical peel treatment.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
In this treatment, a sensitizing chemical is applied to the affected sites for a short time. The skin is then exposed to a blue light, which activates the chemical and destroys AKs. Dedicated, fantastic, and intelligent dermatologist Dr. Zimmet receives patients from Austin, TX, and other communities and cities around this part of Texas for AK treatment.