What are precancerous lesions?
With extensive sun damage, precancerous lesions or actinic keratosis can develop on the skin. These small rough crusted areas don’t heal with moisturization and can develop a scale on top of the discolored skin.
If you run your fingers over your scalp, forehead, cheeks or tops of ears, you can often feel these crusty areas. A physician should evaluate these areas and confirm the diagnosis of actinic keratosis as well as rule out progression into squamous cell carcinoma.
(Post 4 treatments Fraxel 1927)
(Results vary by individual patient and results cannot be guaranteed)
What can be done?
- Fraxel DUAL 1927 nm is FDA approved for removal of actinic keratosis with fractionated laser resurfacing.
- Prescription creams (zyclara, Efudex (5-FU))
- Liquid Nitrogen
- Prevention entails ultraviolet avoidance and protection. If you must be exposed, sunscreen including UVA, UVB, and infrared protection is vital. This should be reapplied every two to three hours while exposed to the sun. Obviously, tanning salons need to be avoided, especially where “tanorexia” has developed and your well being depends on you tanning.
- IPL Photofacial Treatment can reduce actinic keratosis in a small area or a large area, especially if combined with photodynamic therapy.
- Liquid nitrogen can freezer burn a small area of actinic keratosis, but often leaves a depigmented or white scar result.
- Prescription creams such as Zyclara, Efudex (5-fluoro-uracil) can be applied directly to the actinic keratosis or over the entire area. These immunomodulating agents will target precancerous areas and cause them to become inflamed, crusted, and peel off.