Call Today! Philadelphia 215.546.3666  |  Drexel Hill 610.623.5885

Better Safe Than Sorry

Actinic keratosis is a crusty or scaly growth that is considered a pre-cancerous lesion. This type of pre-cancer typically appears on the following areas of the body:

  • Bald scalp
  • Ears
  • Lips
  • Face
  • Back of the hands and arms
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Any other part of the body that receives frequent sun exposure

Although actinic keratosis is not skin cancer, it can develop into squamous cell carcinoma if left untreated. This type of non-melanoma skin cancer must be removed and can be disfiguring. If you’re diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, it’s good to know that all three of our physicians are experienced Mohs surgeons with advanced fellowship training and are fellows of the American College of Mohs Surgery. This is the most effective treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer as well as melanoma that has not grown beyond the surface layer of the skin. When detected and treated early, skin cancer is the most curable of all types of cancer.

Actinic keratosis treatment in Philadelphia

At the Dermatologic SurgiCenter, our goal is to treat actinic keratosis before it progresses to skin cancer. We treat this skin condition, also called solar keratosis, with one of these treatment methods:

  • Cryotherapy, which means to freeze the lesion
  • Photodynamic Therapy

Your doctor will discuss the various options with you when diagnosing this skin condition. You may experience redness, skin flaking, and a stinging sensation with the first two types and minor soreness if you require outpatient surgery. However, he will work with you to minimize discomfort and provide you with aftercare instructions once you get home.

What is Photodynamic Therapy

We utilize LEVULAN KERASTICK and BLU-U PDT, a 2-part treatment. It’s unique because it uses a light activated drug therapy to destroy AKs. How does it work?  LEVULAN KERASTICK Topical Solution is applied to the AK. The solution is then absorbed by the AK cells where it is converted to a chemical that makes the cells extremely sensitive to light. When the AK cells are exposed to the BLU-U Blue Light Illuminator, a reaction occurs which destroys the AK cells.

The 2-part treatment offers the following conveniences:

  • No prescription to fill
  • No daily medication to remember
  • Treatment is administered by a qualified healthcare professional

LEVULAN KERASTICK and BLU-U PDT can also fit your lifestyle:

  • The 2-part, 2 office visit treatment is completed in less than 24 hours
  • Low downtime*
  • High ratings for cosmetic response1
  • No scarring reported to date

How to prevent actinic keratosis

When it comes to skin cancer and pre-cancer, prevention is easier than treatment. Be sure to limit your exposure to UV radiation by wearing a wide-brimmed hat along with sunglasses and lightweight, sun-reflective clothing. It’s also important to wear sunscreen if you’re outdoors for an extended time and to re-apply it every few hours. It should have a minimum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 (for daily use), and higher still for direct prolonged sun exposure (such as at the beach).

You can reduce much of your risk by following a regular skin care routine, but some people have a high genetic predisposition to skin cancer and pre-cancer. Getting regular skin checks is essential in this case. Feel free to contact us to schedule a skin cancer screening if you think you have actinic keratosis or any other skin irregularity that concerns you. We’re always open to your other questions as well.