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Actinic keratosis--Home treatment?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 15, 2012 at 1:49 AM

I've had a small red spot on my cheek for over a year. It hasn't grown, hasn't done anything but look a bit unsightly and get irritated when I'm too rough with my cleansing routine. I'm reasonably certain that it's actinic keratosis, and from what I've found on various medical articles the most common treatment is cryotherapy or salicylic acid.

Would a wart remover patch or Dr. Scholl's Freeze Away do the trick? I'd hate to have to shell out $100+ just to get a common lesion burned off if I can do the same thing at home.

It looks nearly identical to this--

alt text

3058079ae822f066c06e55071d74b634

(164)

on July 16, 2012
at 01:23 PM

Retinoids (of which retinol is the OTC formulation) can be minimally helpful. I don't recommend the freeze away; it's only 1/4 as cold as liquid nitrogen and really doesn't get to the basal cell layer as well (which is where the abnormal cells are concentrated). Also, scarring.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on July 16, 2012
at 04:04 AM

Yes, though they're the stuff that will make you peel a little. he said just apply it daily to the spot and it should eventually correct. He didn't say how long. Definitely not as fast as him freezing it off though. :)

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 16, 2012
at 03:07 AM

No different than all of the questions asked about treating sunburn, insect bites and other minor skin issues in as natural a way as possible. Also, a lot of people may have these and not know what they are. I didn't until just recently. It's not like I'm asking how to excise a tumor from my eyeball.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 16, 2012
at 03:01 AM

So, basically just moisturizers then? And nope, my spot has stayed the same for years. I'm in no rush to get it surgically removed if I can take care of it on my own ;)

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 16, 2012
at 03:00 AM

So, basically just moisturizers then? And nope, my has stayed the same for years. I'm in no rush to get it surgically removed if I can take care of it on my own ;)

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 16, 2012
at 02:58 AM

No different than all of the questions asked about treating sunburn, insect bites and other minor skin issues in as natural a way as possible. Also, a lot of people may have these and not know what they are. I didn't until just recently.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on July 16, 2012
at 02:54 AM

How is this related to a Paleo-hack? Isn't this asking for medical advice from a non-nutritional/exercise point of view?

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 15, 2012
at 05:02 PM

Also, could a retinol cream/gel help cellular turnover?

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 15, 2012
at 04:59 PM

Thanks Tina! I figure if it hasn't changed in the nearly two years since I've had it, a few weeks more isn't going to hurt. I'm going to try the Dr. Scholl's Freeze Away OTC on it in hopes that freezing the skin cells will cause them to slough off and form new skin. I've also been using http://www.simpleskincare.com/products/Vital-Vitamin-Day-Cream-SPF-15-Net-Wt-1.7-OZ-50g-315.aspx with SPF15

3cdc762b2ae30b4ca3529f011ccac174

(186)

on July 15, 2012
at 05:59 AM

Go to the dermatologist now. These solar keratoses are usually harmless, but a few do progress to cancer. Get it evaluated and removed professionally. Really, you need a doctor here.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 15, 2012
at 04:23 AM

Did you use the salicylic acid treatment?

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 15, 2012
at 03:40 AM

Do NOT use an over the counterq wart remover. I tried that once for a zit. They are too strong. I burned my face and it left a scar

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3 Answers

2
3058079ae822f066c06e55071d74b634

(164)

on July 15, 2012
at 03:30 PM

Looks like you've probably self diagnosed it correctly. Good photo. It could also be a superficial basal cell carcinoma, Bowen's disease, or less likely a benign lichenoid keratosis, among other things.

A VERY small percentage of AKs (commonly quoted statistics are about 1% of untreated AKs within 10 years, although recent studies indicate it is probably slightly higher than this) will go on to become a squamous cell cancer. They (AKs) can regress with diligent use of sunscreen; it's an abnormality in DNA from the UV exposure, with protection, there is a chance that your intrinsic repair mechanisms will actually repair this.

If you want to wait until you have more stuff to go to the doctor for, this is unlikely to need immediate attention. Of course, this is not to be construed as medical advice, etc etc etc. If it gets thicker, starts becoming overtly painful, or bleeds with minimal trauma, it needs to be evaluated immediately.

HTH.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 15, 2012
at 04:59 PM

Thanks Tina! I figure if it hasn't changed in the nearly two years since I've had it, a few weeks more isn't going to hurt. I'm going to try the Dr. Scholl's Freeze Away OTC on it in hopes that freezing the skin cells will cause them to slough off and form new skin. I've also been using http://www.simpleskincare.com/products/Vital-Vitamin-Day-Cream-SPF-15-Net-Wt-1.7-OZ-50g-315.aspx with SPF15

3058079ae822f066c06e55071d74b634

(164)

on July 16, 2012
at 01:23 PM

Retinoids (of which retinol is the OTC formulation) can be minimally helpful. I don't recommend the freeze away; it's only 1/4 as cold as liquid nitrogen and really doesn't get to the basal cell layer as well (which is where the abnormal cells are concentrated). Also, scarring.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 15, 2012
at 05:02 PM

Also, could a retinol cream/gel help cellular turnover?

1
Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on July 16, 2012
at 02:51 AM

I just saw my dermatologist about this. Since I didn't want him to remove it right then (I was getting married the next day), he recommended over-the-counter treatments with either of the following:

Aqua Glycolic Acid

AmLactin - alpha-hydroxy acid product, but stronger than the usual stuff.

I haven't done either yet, so I can't tell you how well it works, just that those recs are straight from my doctor. Hope this helps. :)

(Also, I second the recommendation to see a dermatologist - they can sometimes go nuclear. I was worried about mine til the doc said it was just keratosis. However, he did say that unless it is suddenly changing quickly and/or is blackish or blue-ish it wasn't likely to be an issue. Keep sunscreen on it!)

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 16, 2012
at 03:01 AM

So, basically just moisturizers then? And nope, my spot has stayed the same for years. I'm in no rush to get it surgically removed if I can take care of it on my own ;)

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on July 16, 2012
at 04:04 AM

Yes, though they're the stuff that will make you peel a little. he said just apply it daily to the spot and it should eventually correct. He didn't say how long. Definitely not as fast as him freezing it off though. :)

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 16, 2012
at 03:00 AM

So, basically just moisturizers then? And nope, my has stayed the same for years. I'm in no rush to get it surgically removed if I can take care of it on my own ;)

1
41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on July 15, 2012
at 01:54 AM

Have you tried apple cider vinegar? I know it sounds funny but I totally killed off a red spot on my shin (that would just not go away!) with it. I think I just poured some on a cotton ball and doused the spot a few times a day for a couple of days. Got rid of it and it hasn't come back.

Pretty sure I used the raw one with the mother... like Braggs or something.

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