Skin Cancer is the number one cancer in the United States and accounts for more than 50% of all malignancies. The American Cancer society estimates that the number of skin cancers discovered each year is greater than all other cancer diagnoses combined. Skin cancers that historically cursed people over the age of 50, are now afflicting people in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s.
The sun emits two forms of invisible ultraviolet radiation that cause skin cancer and premature aging. UVA rays, the “aging” rays, are dangerously present year round and penetrate the ozone, windows, windshields, and deep into our skin’s dermis where they cause serious damage with little visible evidence of sunburn. The ozone filters the majority of UVB, the “burning” rays, but their peaks during warmer months attack our skin causing first, second, and even third degree burns. Both UVA and UVB rays generate oxygen free radicals that mutate our skin’s DNA, destroy collagen & elastin, and cause immunosuppression that weakens our skin’s ability to repair itself. The sun causes more than 95% of skin aging including fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots, uneven pigmentation, dilated capillaries, and all forms of skin cancer.
Actinic Keratoses (AKs) are common scaly, red and white pre- cancers that typically form on sun damaged skin of the face, scalp, arms, and hands. Because actinic keratoses often evolve into squamous cell carcinomas, early treatment is imperative. Traditional treatments include surgery, cryosurgery, curettage, and topical therapies. These treatments are not optimal for all patients because they often result in scarring, pigmentary changes, and 8-10 weeks of red, scaly, crusted skin.
- Photodynamic Therapy
- Fraxel™ Repair
- Fraxel™ Dual 1927
- Lumenis™ Ultrapulse CO²
PDT (Photodynamic Therapy) has “wowed” the field and skin and laser medicine for it’s miraculous ability to reverse pre-cancerous lesions (Actinic Keratosis), early non-melanoma skin cancers, and sun damage. One to two treatments cure 85-100% of pre-cancerous lesions non-surgically and without scarring. PDT Levulan is a clear painless liquid, that brilliantly repairs decades of aging skin including sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles, dilated capillaries, and most early skin cancers.
When applied directly to sun-damaged skin, concentrated ALA (Levulan) is selectively absorbed by rapidly growing cells such as cancer, pre-cancers, and sun spots. Within these cells, ALA reacts with oxygen and becomes highly excitable when exposed to specific wavelengths of light energy. In this excitable state, ALA destroys the unhealthy cells that make up skin cancers, pre-cancers (actinic keratoses), and sun damage. PDT also destroys acne-causing bacteria and shrinks sebaceous glands.
PDT Treatments are virtually painless and you leave the office feeling like you have a mild to medium sunburn. Over the next several days, the unhealthy cells flake off, leaving healthy new skin behind. These FDA- approved treatments are non-invasive, non-scarring, and less painful than surgery, freezing, or topical chemotherapy creams.
Photodynamic Therapy was first used by dermasurgeons for actinic keratoses and actinic cheilitis (chronically chapped lips) — two pre-cancerous skin conditions associated with chronic sun exposure. Photodynamic therapy works best for improving any type of sun-damaged skin, non-melanoma skin cancers, pre-cancers, inflammatory acne and Rosacea.
Fraxel™ Dual and Fraxel™ Re:pair technology sends microscopic columns of laser energy into the skin’s dermis to destroy old unhealthy cells, including pre-cancers, and early skin cancers causing them to be replaced with healthy new cells.
The Fraxel™ Dual 1927 is designed for removal of abnormal pigmentation and actinic keratosis on the face, chest, hands, arms, and legs. The Fraxel™ dual laser has been shown to eliminate 85-95% of pre-cancerous lesions. The Fraxel™ Dual also erases decades of sun spots, age spots, melasma, and stimulates collagen to dramatically improve skin texture and appearance.
In addition to being both curative and preventative for most early skin cancers, PDT, Fraxel™ Dual, and Fraxel™ Repair treatments cause significant reduction in wrinkles, sun-spots, dilated facial veins, redness, pore size, skin texture, and rosacea, and scarring.
If you would like to learn more about treating your sun-damaged skin, pre-cancers, or early skin cancers non-surgically schedule a PDT or Fraxel™ consultation today at The Cosmetic Vein & Laser Center.
Read Articles on PhotoDynamic Therapy or Skin cancer written by Dr. Kimberly Moskowitz, MS, MD.