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from experienced professionals
“A regular skin checkup can literally save your life.” Jennifer Krasnoff, MD

Actinic Keratoses (AKs), or pre-cancerous lesions on sun damaged skin, may be treated with topical therapy. This allows for the more thorough treatment of large sun damaged areas.

Common medications include: Efudex, fluoroplex or Carac (fluorouracil), Aldara or Zyclara (imiquimod) or Picato (ingenol mebutate). The schedule of treatment will vary according to the medication and the extent of your sun damage.

Apply enough cream to cover the lesions, and be careful when applying near the eyes, nose, and mouth. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after each application.

Expectations are that the AKs will turn red, crust and peel and feel irritated in areas where lesions are being destroyed. This reaction eliminates the unhealthy cells and should not cause concern. Even though this stage of treatment may be unattractive and somewhat uncomfortable, it is important that you do not stop the therapy. The greater the sun damage, the greater the inflammatory reaction.

Keep treated areas clean by washing twice daily. Contact our office if you show any signs of infection; increased pain, redness, yellow crusting/discharge, or warmth in the affected areas. Keep your skin moisturized with a bland moisturizer (like Cetaphil or CeraVe) or you can use a thicker healing ointment (like Vaseline, Elta or Aquaphor) for the more crusted areas.

Once you have been seen by one of our practitioners and we have advised you to stop your topical treatment, it is important to follow our post care instructions.

Download the PDF here.

Read more about actinic keratosis treatments





Petaluma Office
165 Lynch Creek Way
Petaluma, CA 94954
 M-F, 8:00am-5:00pm
(707) 762-5531
Fax: (707) 762-5976



Hercules Office
500 Alfred Nobel Dr., Ste. 245
Hercules, CA 94547
M-F, 8:00am-5:00pm
Open Saturday for aesthetic services
 (510) 741-7418
Fax: (510) 741-7456


Billing office
Fax: 510- 741-7493

At Dermatology Associates of the Bay Area, our board-certified dermatologists serve patients at our Petaluma and Hercules offices. We are committed to the highest standards, and we offer a full range of cosmetic, medical, and surgical dermatology procedures, as well as quality skin care products.

Dermatology Associates of the Bay Area
165 Lynch Creek Way | Petaluma, California 94954 | Phone: (707) 762-5531 | Fax: (707) 762-5976
500 Alfred Nobel Drive, Suite 245 | Hercules, California 94547 | Phone: (510) 741-7418 | Fax: (510) 741-7456