Treatments For Keratosis
When abnormalities are discovered on the skin, they are quite often the result of a build-up of keratin on the skin. Keratin, an essential protein which is a key ingredient in the structural make-up of hair and nails, results in keratosis when it begins to grow on the skin. Warts, lumping and abnormal thickness to the skin are physical manifestations of keratosis. There are several forms of this disorder: actinic or solar keratosis and keratosis pilaris which often resembles acne, hydrocarbon keratosis which is caused by exposure to certain chemical compounds, specifically ‘polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons’ (PAHs) found in primarily in coal and tar deposits and seborrheic keratosis which is non-cancerous, harmless.
There are a variety of treatments for keratosis:
- Anti-inflammatory medication, in particular diclofenac sodium 3% gel. It is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and the recommended duration of therapy is between sixty and ninety days.
- Cryosurgery, the most common treatment for the actinic variety of the disorder. Liquid nitrogen is applied to the affected surface of the skin. Being extremely cold, it causes the death of the cells in the area. There are advantages to this treatment, i.e. highly effective, quick, requires few visits to the doctor and is considered relatively cheap. There are a few disadvantages however, resulting discomfort and pain, reactions resulting in blisters, reddening of the skin, swelling, and infection.
- Medicated creams and lotions which contain alpha-hydroxy, lactic or salicyclic or urea. They soften and moisturize dry skin helping to loosen and remove dead skin cells. They are available both over-the-counter and by prescription.
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT) which involves a combination of chemicals and L.E.D.s (light emitting diode) to treat actinic keratosis. PDT is a medical treatment that utilizes a photosensitizing drug with the L.E.D. light. The chemical, aminolevulinic acid (ALA) is applied directly to affected area; some hours later the skin is exposed to L.E.D. which effectively kills the affected skin cells
- Laser skin therapy, an increasingly popular method of treatment. Fraxel laser treatment, for example, is a form of laser skin therapy. Approved by the FDA, the fraxel laser treatment works to effectively resurface the skin from the inside. The result is seen in improved texture of the skin, an evening of the skin tone, smoother skin.
- Electrocautery involves burning off the skin blemishes using electricity.
All these treatments work to a greater or lesser degree depending on the individual and care must be taken to consult with a medical professional.
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