Solar keratosis or sunspots affect one quarter of Queensland residents over the age of 45. Solar keratosis also known as ‘sun spots’ or actinic keratosis, commonly occur on the face, and hands. They can be considered as pre-cancerous, and treated. Treatments will depend on the extent of sun-damage, the location of sunspots, and your downtime. Your Skin Cancer Doctor will discuss treatment options for your sunspots. An individualized approach will give you the best results.
Facts on solar keratosis
Solar keratosis or sun-spots is due to an abnormal development of skin cells, and is secondary to Ultraviolet light exposure. Sun-damage most frequently occur in areas exposed to the environment, including the face, neck and back of hands. Other areas affected include the top of the ears, nose, upper lip and temples. Solar keratosis present as red, often scaly, rough and persistent spots.
Solar keratosis can also present on the lips, a condition known as actinic chelitis.
The principle case of solar keratosis or sun-damage is UV exposure and genetics. Brisbane receives more UV radiation than other cities such as Sydney, and Melbourne. Up to a quarter of middle aged Brisbane population will exhibit early changes of solar keratosis.
Efudix – time tested, this is a chemotherapy cream for sunspots. The downside about Efudix is the prolonged recovery time – up to 4 weeks.
Picato Gel – Picato gel (Ingenol Mebutate) is a Brisbane invention, and is now used all over the world to treat sunspots. Picato is derived from a common plant known as Milkweed and is now used to treat actinic keratosis (sunspots) and precancerous lesions.
Aldara Treatment – can be used for sunspots; however the disadvantage is the long application regime, often extending months.
PDT or Photodynamic therapy – is an excellent method to treat sunspots. The recovery is within a week, however costing is an issue. PDT is a very effective treatment for sunspots, especially on the scalp and face.
Fraxel Laser – is the very latest in the fight against sunspots and is extremely effective in removing sun spots, solar keratosis, skin pigmentation and overall sun-damage. Recovery is within 5-7 days, and the results can be outstanding.
Liquid nitrogen or freezing – is a time tested method of treating sunspots, however if performed incorrectly, can lead to blistering, and scarring. This method can only be used to treat a few spots at a time.
No. No treatment will clear up ALL sun-damage; however the aim is to decrease the amount of solar keratosis and sun damage. As a guide, treatments such as Fraxel Laser, PDT, Efudix, and Picato will clear up 80-85% of sunspots with one treatment cycle.
Most people will need to repeat treatment every 4-10 years, depending on the severity of sun damage.
Yes, laser is the newest method of treating sunspots. This procedure is conducted by specialist dermatologists at Westside Laser Dermatology. Laser treatment can be tailored according to the level of sun-damage. Lasers include erbium, CO2, or Fraxel Laser.
This procedure is conducted at a Specialist Level by Laser Dermatologists, Dr. Davin S. Lim and Dr. Shobhan Manoharan.
Laser treatments start from $990 for Fraxel Laser, using the latest in Fractional Laser technology.
Read more about Fraxel Laser
Efudix is the cheapest method of removing sunspots, but has a downtime of nearly one month. Fraxel laser on the other hand, has a downtime of less than a week, but costing can be an issue. Our aim is to give patients options to treat their sun damage.
|TreatmentModality||Efficacy of treatment||Duration of treatment||Cosmetic outcome||Down time of treatment||Price of treatment|
|Fraxel 1927 laser||++++||30 min||Excellent||6 days||$990|
|Efudix||+++++||3-4 weeks||Satisfactory||25 days||$60-$80 per tube|
|Picato Gel||+++++||3-4 days||Satisfactory||7days||$ 145 per tube|
|Glycolic / AHA peels||++||15 min, series of peels needed||Good||1 hour(Recommended for mild photo-damage)||$95|
There are two outstanding treatments for sunspots and solar keratosis. These treatments are highly effective, with the quickest recovery. Like creams, the clearance rate from PDT and Fraxel laser is around 80%- depending on the level of sun-damage.
PDT: downtime of 7 days, conducted by Specialists at Westside Laser Dermatology. This treatment is ideal for DVA patients – Veteran Affairs patients as there is no out of pocket cost.
Fraxel Laser: downtime of 5-7 days, performed by laser specialists. Rejuvenates skin as well as removing sun spots.
Read more aboutFraxel laser
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