Actinic keratoses are pre-cancerous skin lesions caused by chronic sun damage. Your chances of developing actinic keratoses are increased with repeated sun exposure, especially if you have fair skin and tend to freckle.
There are multiple treatments for these lesions. Each has its own advantages and drawbacks. One form of treatment that has been received positively by patients is photodynamic therapy, or PDT. This treatment uses a special light to target and eliminate the abnormal skin cells.
About Photodynamic Therapy
After cleaning the skin, a liquid known as Levulan (aminolevulinic acid) is applied to the areas where the Actinic Keratoses are found. After 1-2 hours, the Levulan is converted by the Actinic Keratoses in your skin to another substance, protoporphyrin. This builds up in the Actinic Keratoses. The skin is then exposed to a lamp that emits a visible blue light (not UV light!). While Levulan itself is not activated by light, protoporphyrin is; therefore, the keratoses are selectively destroyed.
Benefits of Photodynamic Therapy
Actinic keratoses may frequently be spread out over large areas. PDT is known as a field treatment because it can treat many keratoses perhaps even those that are not yet visible to the naked eye. There are several prescription creams that are also used as field treatments but many patients feel that the PDT is a much easier treatment to go through.
There are a few aesthetic advantages to the use of PDT such as improved overall skin texture. If you have diffused actinic keratoses, PDT may be a good option for you.
What to Expect
Treatments with PDT blue light therapy can be customized according to your condition, skin type and specific needs. Your doctor will advise you on the best course of action for you. It is possible to achieve good results with one or two treatments; however, the number of sessions required depends on the situation.
Say Goodbye to Your Actinic Keratoses
While PDT is a very common treatment used worldwide, not every dermatology office has this available for their patients. Dermatology Associates has had many years of experience with this therapy. If you have actinic keratoses, a safe and efficient option for removing them is photodynamic therapy. With locations in Norwood, Franklin and Foxboro, Dermatology Associates is here to help you with your actinic keratoses. Contact us today to request a consultation to learn more.