In response to the increase in skin cancer worldwide, new treatment options are in high demand. One of the most promising therapies to emerge in recent years is photodynamic, or blue light therapy. At Easton Dermatology in Easton and Salisbury, Maryland, we use blue light therapy to treat actinic keratosis, a precursor to dangerous skin cancers.
Here, we share more about blue light therapy and how it can benefit you, but first let’s learn more about actinic keratosis.
Understanding actinic keratosis
After years of exposure to the sun, you can develop a scaly patch of rough skin anywhere on your body, though they’re most common on your face, hands, ears, forearms, and scalp. They’re called actinic keratosis, but are more commonly known as age spots or sunspots.
Some of the signs of actinic keratosis are:
- Itching and burning around a raised patch of skin
- Flaky, scaly patches of skin
- Pink, red, or brown raised bump-like areas
If left untreated, actinic keratosis can turn into invasive squamous cell carcinoma. Furthermore, research shows that the more areas of actinic keratosis you have, the greater your chance of it progressing to squamous cell carcinoma.
Blue light therapy for actinic keratosis
Blue light therapy combines a specially formulated medicine that’s activated by a blue light. The light accumulates in your skin’s cells and starves them of oxygen, stopping the pre-cancer in its tracks. Our team uses it to successfully eradicate pre-cancerous skin lesions.
The simple procedure has three quick steps:
- Applying a light-responsive medical solution
- Exposing your skin to a special blue light
- Moisturizing and protecting with a zinc oxide sunscreen
Depending on the type of medicine we use, there may be an intentional delay of 2-48 hours between the application stage and the light therapy stage. This gives your body time to absorb the light-sensitive medication.
Benefits of blue light therapy
Our patients elect blue light therapy for actinic keratosis for its many benefits, including that it:
- Is as effective as radiation or surgery
- Is noninvasive
- Does not require downtime
- Is handled on an outpatient basis
- Provides cumulative results over multiple sessions
- Does not damage or scar your skin
- Is cost-effective
- Is painless
In addition, the side effects are minimal. Your skin may be red and may tingle some after your blue light therapy, but serious complications are very rare. Patients who undergo this treatment should steer clear of the sun or bright lights for a few days following the session.
To find out if you’re a candidate for blue light therapy to treat actinic keratosis, call our Easton or Salisbury offices to book an appointment.