Saturday, April 1, 2017

Itchy and Scratchy

I had my "Photodynamic" skin treatment today on the top of my head, and the post title is how it's feeling right now.

When I first moved to California in 1982 I was an avid, regular beach goer. And I overdid it a few times.

They were two times when I got so sunburned my first summer here that the top of my head was purple.

YEARS later, I started noticing these hard, scaly patches on my poor old bald head, and went to see the Dermatologist. He proclaimed I had "Actinic Keratosis", and proceeded to blast several spots with Liquid Nitrogen to freeze them off.

That's how I've been having them taken care of for the last 12 years or so, but the last time I saw my Dermatologist, he suggested this method, as it usually gets rid of them once and for all.

They washed my scalp with some mild soap, gave it an alcohol scrub, and then dabbed on "Levulan" topical solution, and let me sit for about 30 minutes for the affected areas to absorb it. Then it was on with the goggles, and roll this 7-tube lighting fixture over me. It puts out a specific wavelength of UV, which activates the now absorbed chemicals. I had two 30 minute treatments with a leg stretching pause in between them.

Compared to the sensation of having LN2 sprayed on your skin, this was a walk in the park!

Minor itching/stinging after the light had been on for about 15 minutes, but that's all, even after the full one-hour treatment.

It may or may not get more pronounced over the next few days before the "bad" areas slough off, but so far it's way better than getting patches of your skin taken down to -320*F!

I have a follow-up visit in 8 weeks, and if there's a few spots they missed, they'll do it again.

Hopefully this will eliminate the LN2 treatments I had been getting....

10 comments:

  1. I get sprayed almost every trip to derma. I am interested in how your treatment works in ht long run.

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    1. So am I!

      I'll keep you posted....

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  2. I can get sunburned under a 100 watt light bulb, or so it seems. Self medicate with 30% food grade hydrogen peroxide. 15-30 minutes of intense discomfort, but it works as well as the liquid nitrogen.

    I find daily applications of calamine lotion helps spread the time between treatments. Works best for me when applied after showering.

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    1. My wife gets burned very easily, too. She had her face chemically peeled last year to get rid of "stuff", and it was a lot worse that the treatment I did.

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  3. You sure do know how to have a good time... but srsly, I hope the new treatment works "once and for all", as promised.

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    1. *Getting* the sunburn back then was a lot more fun than *having* it a few days later!

      We'll just have to see how this treatment turns out. Not bad today so far, but the info packet said it can take a couple of days to really kick in.

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  4. That's very good to know. I'll wheel out this bit of advice to the sawbones (croaker) when I see him next.

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    1. It's definitely less painful than getting blasted with LN2, and if it lasts longer, it will be well worth the very minor discomfort of the treatment.

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  5. That sounds like a pain in the rear! Have you considered using a sander? ;-)

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Keep it civil, please....