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Solar Keratoses-from a Memphis Dermatologist

George Woodbury jr. M.D. (04/15/2022)

Invisible light, or UV light, is the major cause of aging of our skin, sunburn, and skin cancer, giving our skin a leather-like texture that dermatologists call Photoaging. Let’s look at management of solar keratoses (also called actinic keratoses) – what they are, why they’re important, and management – from my own perspective of practicing Memphis Dermatology these past 29 years.

A Solar Keratosis (plural: solar keratoses) is a skin roughness caused by UV light exposure, often starting in a person’s twenties and thirties. Solar keratoses occur in all races, but are common among people who like to spend time in the sun, or in tanning parlors.

What does a solar keratosis look like? It’s often a rough, dry, and scaly, most frequent in sun-exposed parts of the body. They frequently become itchy, or sore, being skin that’s been damaged by UV light.

Above is a representative solar keratosis.

Why are solar keratoses important? 10 and 20% of these lesions later develop into a type of skin cancer called Squamous Cell Carcinoma, or Squamous Cell Skin Cancer, a condition that’s unfortunately increasing rather than decreasing in incidence. Approximately 10,000 Americans die of this type of skin cancer each year.

Fortunately, in 2022, Dermatologists have a growing number of effective treatments for Solar Keratoses. “Broad spectrum” sunscreens are helpful in prevention. Many Board-certified Dermatologists like myself use what’s called cryotherapy or freezing with liquid nitrogen to treat solar keratoses. Another option – called photodynamic therapy – uses a sun-sensitizing chemical to remove this type of growth from the skin.

Dermatologists now have three main prescription creams for solar keratoses:

a.) fluorouracil cream (Efudex® Cream and Fluoroplex® Cream) – a chemotherapy agent that’s been used internally for many years:

b.) imiquimod cream (Aldara® Cream), an agent that works on the immune responses of the skin, and

c.) ingenol mebutate cream (Picato® Cream), a newer agent discolored in the mildewed plant.

We also often use two additional topical creams for Solar Keratoses, though they have not been formally demonstrated to be effective before the FDA:

a.)Tretinoin cream (also called Retin® A Cream and Renova® Cream) – a vitamin A chemical, and

b.)Alpha-hydroxy acid creams (AHAs) –originally discolored in fruits, and sugarcane – such as Glycolic Acid – present in GlycoShea™ Facial&Neck Cream – and GlycoShea™ Hand&Body Cream - products of Big River Silk Skincare Inc. (, of which I am the President.

If you or a family member has a skin growth or lesion that’s changing or enlarging, it’s a wise move to get that lesion checked by a Board-certified Dermatologist. I’m a Cordova Dermatologist, near Memphis, TN, or Germantown or Bartlett. You can also find a Dermatologist close to you by going to the American Academy of Dermatology web site: Just plug you zip code into the ‘Find a Dermatologist’ tab, and you’ll get a list of Dermatologists near year.

George R. Woodbury Jr. M.D.

President of Big River Silk Skincare Inc. 8143 Walnut Grove Road Cordova, TN 38018 (901) 753-0168 (Office)



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