Actinic Keratosis Treatment in Indianapolis and Carmel
Turkle & Associates Plastic Surgery and Dermatology
Actinic Keratosis Treatment Indianapolis and Carmel IN
Actinic keratosis is a common skin problem seen by Turkle & Associates. Since actinic keratoses can turn into skin cancer, it is important they are evaluated and possibly treated.
Please continue reading for frequently asked questions and more information about actinic keratosis and how we can help.
What Are Actinic Keratoses?
Actinic keratoses are lesions that form due to changes in skin cell size, shape, and organization. Generally, these skin cell changes occur after the ages of 40-50 and are due to long-term sun exposure. Studies have show that 50% of older, fair-skinned persons who live in sunny geographic areas will develop actinic keratoses. These lesions tend to occur in highly sun-exposed areas of the body such as the hands, face, and neck.
A typical description of actinic keratoses would include terms such as rough, scaly skin, “bumps” on the skin, mottled skin, and skin “horn”. They can range in size form about a pinhead to several centimeters. Skin colored actinic keratoses may be more apparent to the touch–as scaly, dry, bumpy skin–than to visual perception. These changes in the skin also set the stage for transformation of actinic keratoses into non-melanoma skin cancer.
Why Are Actinic Keratoses Called the Early Beginnings of Skin Cancer?
Actinic keratoses have shown the ability to evolve into skin cancer. The most common skin cancer to develop is a type called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). The most significant predisposing factor for SCC is the same as for actinic keratoses – long-term sun exposure and fair skin.
Not all actinic keratoses progress to SCC, but a substantial portion of them do. Therefore, every actinic keratosis lesion can be considered to have the potential to progress to SCC. Thus, treatment of actinic keratoses at an early stage is preventive as well as cosmetic.
What Are Your Treatments and Procedures for Actinic Keratoses?
A variety of treatments for actinic keratoses are available and most treatments have cure rates of 80% to over 90%. The common treatments the doctor may suggest include, but are not limited to:
Blu-U Light Therapy with Levulan – Photodynamic Therapy
The most common procedure for actinic keratoses is cryosurgery. Generally, cryosurgery involves the use of liquid nitrogen which is sprayed on to “freeze” skin affected with actinic keratoses. The treated surface then flactinic keratosises off (may form a small blister) which will be replaced by new skin.
Cryosurgery causes little discomfort, and local anesthesia is usually not required. Skin redness for a time is the chief side effect. Single or multiple actinic keratoses can be treated in a single session.
Curettage is done with a curet, a spoon-shaped instrument used to scrape tissue. The curet is applied to the skin surface to scrape off actinic keratosis cells down to the level of uninvolved skin. Local anesthesia is usually used to reduce discomfort during curettage. The minor wound heals rapidly after the procedure.
Topical 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)
5-FU is an effective prescription cream or solution used for home treatment of multiple actinic keratoses. 5-FU may cause slight burning and itching and direct sunlight should be avoided while in use.
Over a period of weeks, you will notice skin redness and subsequent disintegration of your actinic keratoses. This redness is temporary and will disappear within weeks after treatment. Pregnant women should not use 5-FU.
Surgical Excision and Biopsy
Sometimes, actinic keratoses are surgically removed (cut out) and the tissue examined under a microscope. This is done if it is thought that the actinic keratosis may have transformed into cancer.
Additionally, retinoids (Retin-A) may be prescribed to treat your actinic keratoses.
Re-treatments may be necessary when new actinic keratoses appear.
After examining you, the doctor will advise which is the best actinic keratosis treatment for you.
What are the Best Sunscreen, Makeup and Skincare Products for Actinic Keratosis Patients?
People who are prone to developing actinic keratoses should always wear a high quality sunscreen and, if possible, use makeup and other products containing sunscreen. We do carry these products which you can purchase in-person at our office, over the phone by calling 317-848-0001 or at our online store by clicking here.
If you have any question about which product is right for you, please feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to help!
How You Can Prevent Actinic Keratoses
Actinic keratoses are highly preventable, and prevention is by far the best “medicine”. Prevention of actinic keratoses should ideally begin early in life. In geographic areas of high-intensity sunlight, sun damage to unprotected skin begins in childhood and puts the child at high risk for actinic keratoses and skin cancer later in life. However, it is never too late to initiate prevention of new actinic keratoses in adulthood.
The basics of preventing actinic keratoses are:
Avoid excessive sun by staying out of direct exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and by wearing clothes that covers arms and legs (wear a wide brimmed hat).
For everyday use, choose broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides both UVA and UVB protection with sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and apply it at least 15-30 minutes prior to sun exposure.
If you anticipate being in the sun for long periods, use a sunscreen with SPF 30 and reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, even on cloudy days.
Avoidance of overexposure to sunlight and adequate sun protection are the fundamentals in prevention.
While prevention is very important, as mentioned, actinic keratoses are very common and when they occur, they should be treated by a dermatologist. Also, if you are at high risk for actinic keratoses (older than age 50, fair skin, light colored eyes, red/blond hair, chronic sun exposure) you should be see your dermatologist regularly. You should also perform self skin exams.
Keep in mind once you have been treated for actinic keratoses, you are considered at risk for new ones.
Do You Take Insurance For Actinic Keratosis Treatment
Yes, we do take insurance for actinic keratosis treatment, however insurance does not cover non-prescription products or treatments the insurance company feels are not medically necessary. We suggest you contact your plan administrator to determine if we participate with your insurance plan.
Contact Us About Actinic Keratosis Treatment
If you have more questions and would like further information about actinic keratosis treatment and removal, or if you are ready to schedule an appointment, contact Turkle & Associates Plastic Surgery and Dermatology by clicking here for our online quick-contact email form or feel free to call us at 317-848-0001.
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Turkle & Associates Plastic Surgery and Dermatologys’ video content is for informational and educational purposes only. Viewing of these videos should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis or a treatment recommendation. As with any health concern, always seek a consultation regarding a medical condition. Any questions concerning the content of these videos may be directed to Turkle & Associates Plastic Surgery and Dermatology at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-848-0001.