Actinic Keratoses (AKs) are important to treat as some may progress to Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCCs). We use a special chemical to sensitize those precancerous cells which will react when exposed to a certain wavelength of light.
Before your treatment we will apply a chemical to your skin called Aminolevulinic Acid HCl (ALA). You will return to our office after a period of time and we will expose your skin to the light that will destroy the abnormal cells.
During the treatment you will wear protective eyewear and feel a stinging, burning sensation. The treatment under the light takes 15 minutes.
Afterwards, your skin will be very sensitive to light for the next 2 days. You will not be able to go outside WITHOUT protective clothing. Even bright indoor light should be avoided. Sunscreens will NOT protect the skin in both cases. Following the treatment, the AKs will redden. Over the next week the skin will peel, but may take up to four weeks to heal. Side effects can include swelling, itching, scaling, and changes in skin color.
Some people who have certain blood diseases (porphyrias) or allergies to porphyrins cannot be treated.
Clinical studies have shown that after 8 weeks approximately 80% of patients had 75% or more of their AKs completely clear. About 65% of patients had complete clearing of ALL their treated AK lesions.