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Exploring the Treatment Options for Actinic Keratosis

May 20, 2015

Actinic keratosis is a spot of skin damaged by the sun’s UV rays or by indoor tanning beds. Most people develop more than one actinic keratosis—or AK—spots at a time. If you have AKs, you should see your dermatologist in Arlington Heights for care. When left untreated, AKs can turn into squamous cell skin cancer. There are several different treatments for AKs that your dermatologist can use, and in some cases, it may be necessary to combine treatments to completely get rid of AKs. Here is a look at some of the options.

Diclofenac Sodium Gel

This gel is applied topically to your areas where you have AKs. It gets applied twice daily for two to three months. This medication is useful in getting rid of many AKs, but it may not get rid of them all. After your regimen is complete, your dermatologist may follow-up with a different treatment, such as cryotherapy.


If you have ever had warts frozen off by your dermatologist, then you are familiar with cryotherapy. During this treatment, the AKs on your skin are frozen, which causes the skin to blister and peel away. Usually, this process takes a few weeks, after which point small white spots may remain where the AKs were located. Cryotherapy is the most common treatment for AKs.

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy, or PDT, involves the use of blue or laser light to destroy AKs. During treatment, your dermatologist will apply a solution to your skin to make it sensitive to light. Next, your skin is exposed to light, which activates the solution to get rid of the AKs. When your skin heals after PDT, your AKs should be gone.

Don’t let AKs go untreated. Instead, visit Arlington Dermatology for care. Make an appointment with one of our dermatologists for a consultation by calling [company-phone id=1]. Our doctors treat a variety of skin conditions and also provide cosmetic dermatology care.

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