Photodynamic Therapy vs. Cryotherapy for Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis are you at risk yes or no

There are many different treatment options when it comes to actinic keratosis. However, you may not know which one is right for you and your needs. You may have heard of photodynamic therapy (PDT) or cryotherapy for treating actinic keratosis, but what’s the difference between these two? Let’s take a closer look at what PDT and cryotherapy are and how they might fit your actinic keratosis treatment needs.

What Is Actinic Keratosis?

Actinic keratosis is damaged skin that develops because of UV exposure over many years. It is exclusively caused by sun damage and is sometimes referred to as solar keratosis. It is most common in people aged over forty and is easier to develop as the skin ages.

Actinic keratosis appears as rough, scaly, and sometimes wart-like spots on the skin. Unfortunately, actinic keratosis isn’t simply a cosmetic issue. It can lead to cancer in up to ten percent of cases. That’s why it’s imperative to have the spots removed. Let’s take a look at two popular removal options used to treat actinic keratosis.


Cryotherapy is one of the most common forms of actinic keratosis removal. Cryotherapy rapidly cools and freezes the spot to destroy actinic keratosis. The skin will then naturally blister and peel off in a couple of days or weeks. New, healthy skin will then replace it. You may see a small white mark after the skin has healed.

Photodynamic Therapy

The goal of PDT is the same as cryotherapy; removal. PDT achieves this by first applying a solution to increase your skin’s sensitivity to light. Once the solution is properly absorbed, light or a laser is used to destroy the actinic keratosis. While this does leave a small wound, healthy skin will grow from the treatment site.

Seeing a Dermatologist

Actinic keratosis can be intimidating due to its cancerous potential and frustrating for your skincare. That’s why our team of doctors at Harris Dermatology takes actinic keratosis treatment seriously and offers various removal methods to suit your needs.

Our staff understands the importance of prevention, screening, and treatment, and we make it our mission to provide all three of those things to patients in our care. If you’re concerned about a spot on your skin potentially being actinic keratosis, contact Harris Dermatology at 239-596-1848 for our Naples office or 239-936-3344 for our Fort Myers location.


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