Worth the Effort - Actinic Keratosis Removal - Phoenix, AZ
For a few years I have had some actinic keratoses...
- 15 Jul 2012
For a few years I have had some actinic keratoses on my face and I had basal cell skin cancer on my shoulder back when I was 23. I'm now 41 and I live in a sunny climate. My dermatologist suggested this treatment; she thought I had a mild to moderate amount of actinic keratoses. I was nervous because of all the scary photos I found online. But after my research, I decided to go for it since more and more frequently, I'm finding little rough patches on my face and making the trip to the dr. to have them removed. Might as well get rid of a lot of them all at once, right?
I had the levulan put on my face, waited for 90 minutes and then I sat in front of the blue light for 17 minutes. It got a bit hot, stinging and uncomfortable, but nothing unbearable. I had a little fan to help cool my face and I think that made a huge difference in keeping the discomfort to a minimum. My face was cleaned off and I had sunscreen slathered on. I put on my big floppy hat and sunglasses and drove to my home, which is a 10-12 minute drive. I stayed completely out of the sun and avoided bright lights for the next 2 1/2 days. I really took that part seriously, especially since during the first 2 days when curiosity got the better of me and I turned on my bathroom light to inspect my face, I found that my face started to sting. So I kept the lights low and the blinds completely shut.
My face turned red like a tomato and it was very hot to the touch, this kind of worried me. I put my face cream in the fridge, so when I applied it, it felt nice and cool. I also had a little mineral water facial spray bottle thing and I used it constantly because it felt so nice and cooling.
By the end of the third day, my face wasn't so red anymore, thank goodness. It looked like I had a bad sunburn, but I didn't look like I'd just poured hot water all over my face, which is what I looked immediately after the treatment. My face felt itchy and dry and started to peel. I think the peeling was mild compared to what other reviewers went through.
It has been a week and I think my skin looks pretty good. It is still a bit dry and peeling and some of the brown damaged patches are still there. It is too early to say what my final opinion will be, but as of now, I'm very pleased with this therapy.
The most useful thing is that I now know where I don't do a good job of applying my sunscreen. I do make sure to put on sunscreen on every morning, but after this treatment I see how I wasn't applying it very well around my hairline and my eyebrows, because that is where most of the damage appeared. So this is definitely been a good learning experience - I will be much more conscious of putting my sunscreen on carefully from now on.
I'm very lucky and grateful that my insurance paid for the whole treatment.