An actinic keratosis (AK) is a pre-cancerous growth that results from ultraviolet sun damage. AKs present as pink, scaly, rough bumps and patches on sun-exposed skin such as the face, neck, hands, and extremities. If not treated, they can potentially progress to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a common skin cancer.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses a photosensitizing agent (Ameluz) as well as red light energy to selectively destroy precancerous cells. Patients are advised to discontinue the use of all acne products for 1 week pretreatment. On the day of treatment, a healthcare provider will clean the treatment area with alcohol and remove scaly/crusty skin. Ameluz gel will then be applied, and the patient will wait for 1 hour. It is vital that the patient avoid all sun exposure while the gel is on. Afterwards, the patient will sit for 10 minutes under a red light. The patient must avoid all sun exposure up to 48 hours after the procedure, so we recommend staying home. Patients may experience swelling, peeling and redness. These side effects are all normal and can be exacerbated with sun exposure.