Actinic Keratosis, also known as “sun warts,” are pre-cancerous lesions that appear as scaly, red, flaky patches on sun-exposed areas such as the face, scalp and the backs of hands. If left untreated, they could turn into a type of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma.
When patients have only a few of these scaly lesions, we will usually offer topical creams, or use liquid nitrogen to freeze them. This procedure can be a bit uncomfortable for patients, and causes the lesions to blister and fall off. However, when an entire field is covered in these lesions – a full scalp, an entire face, or both – use of liquid nitrogen may not be practical. For these patients, Dr. Sapra may suggest Photodynamic Therapy with Metvix or Blu-U®/Levulan therapy. Cryotherapy, the application of extreme cold to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue, is also used for the treatment of various benign and malignant skin conditions from Actinic Keratoses to pigmented lentigos, skin tags, SK’s and warts.