I spent most of my youth in the sun and now I have some spots of pre-cancerous keratoses. I have been told that a chemical peel can remove this. How long must I stay out of the sun after I have had a chemical peel? Do you test the cell types afterwards to make sure that the cancer cells are completely removed?
Most of us spent a great deal of time in the sun during our youth. It has not been until the past few years that physician have recognized the adverse effects the sun can have on our skin. Factors that can also contribute to the damage our skin can sustain from the sun is the degree of pigment of our skin and the severity of sunburns we sustained during our youth. Changes to the skin such as solar lentigenes (sun spots) and actinic keratosis (precancerous lesions) should be addressed early before they progress to more invasive basal cell or squamous cell skin cancers. Chemical peels, the use of photodynamic therapy, and laser skin resurfacing are great ways to rejuvenate your skin and destroy these precancerous lesions. If there are areas on your skin that are more suspicious for cancer, a biopsy will be performed and sent for pathology. These lesions should be completely surgically excised and are usually not treated in the same fashion as precancerous lesions. Due to the fact that sun exposure has caused these lesions to occur on your skin in the first place, diligent sun protection and limited sun exposure should become part of your lifestyle going forward.
Posted by Dr. Philip Schoenfeld