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Actinic Keratosis Treatments


Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

Surgical Removal

Individual lesions can be scraped or shaved with a scalpel. If there is a question of cancer, a biopsy specimen will be sent for examination.


Liquid nitrogen or a freeing spray kills the abnormal tissue. This will allow normal healing to replace the lesion.

5-fluorouracil (5-FU) Cream

The cream is applied twice a day for 2-4 weeks. 5-FU selectively attacks damaged skin so that normal skin can grow in its place. The result is temporary redness and rawness. The worse the reaction, the better the final result. This is the treatment of choice for badly damaged skin with multiple AKs.

Chemical Peeling

Various acids can destroy superficial layers of skin. This will allow normal skin to heal over the damage.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

A chemical, 5-aminolevulinic acid, is applied to the skin. The chemical sensitizes the abnormal growths to light. If they are then exposed to strong light, the keratoses are destroyed.


This is a topical cream. It treats AK by creating a local immune response.

Diclofenac Gel

This is applied locally. It is found to be helpful in treating AK.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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