What are Actinic Keratoses?
Actinic Keratosis, sometimes called Solar Keratosis or Senile Keratosis is a pre-cancerous area of skin that can appear only as patches of subtly flaky skin that is only mildly discoloured in comparison to the healthy skin that surrounds it and other times looks noticeably thick, scaly or crusty.
Actinic Keratosis is a disorder of Epidermal Keratinocytes that is triggered through UV light exposure, from the sun or sunbeds. These growths are more common in fair-skinned people and those who expose their skin to the sun frequently and over long periods of time, usually over decades. Due to their pre-cancerous nature, if left untreated Actinic Keratosis has a 20% risk of turning developing into Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
As we age the deepest layer of the skin called the dermis thins due to depleting levels of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) production, (the very energy currency needed to fuel a cell in order for it to perform optimally) and other factors such as oxidative stress.
As the dermis becomes thinner and weaker it creates less and less new collagen, elastin and blood vessel growth resulting in the skin collapsing over time and the creation of fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, sagging skin and pigmentation issues such as sun spots and the gradual formation of things like Actinic Keratosis.
The thinner the skin becomes, the less able it is to perform its primary function of protecting the body from things like impact, (bumping into something or being hit by something) resulting in it bruising easily and or excessively and becoming vulnerable to tearing apart, resulting in more risk of infection. Thin skin does not tend to heal quickly which also heightens the risk of infection and the formation of tissues such as cysts.
Medical professionals who specialise in the treatment of skin disorders such as dermatologists often prescribe creams that contain Fluorouracil to be used over a period of 2-4 weeks or so to treat Actinic Keratosis.
APOC-5FU, also called CaracTM, Efudex®, Fluoroplex®, 5-fluorouracil and 5-FU contains Fluorouracil and is available in different strengths and is a type of chemotherapy that has an anti-cancer effect by preventing the production of DNA in the cell. This blockage of DNA production prevents the cancer cell from reproducing and making vital proteins, which leads to cell death.
Some ablative lasers (such as CO2 lasers) are used by trained medical professionals such as dermatologists to vaporize skin cancer, however, I have heard a report from a client who underwent this kind of treatment that it was extremely painful.
For some reason, she was unable to use numbing cream and she also suffered a severe reaction that resulted in weeks of painful healing after the treatment the practitioner who provided the laser treatment helped her to work through using LED Light therapy free of charge.
It is also important to consider healthy skin may also be negatively affected by using creams that contain Fluorouracil. I have seen one client suffer red-raw skin on her nose after applying to all of the skin of the nose instead of just a small area near the nose as she was directed to by her medical professional. The skin stayed this way for around a year or more.
This is why I do not always agree with medical practitioners prescribing the use of creams that contain Fluorouracil and directing them to be used as a precaution for developing Actinic Keratosis.
Instead of stripping away at skin in order to ensure there are no issues such as Actinic Keratosis lurking within its layers I feel it is better to repair and rebuild the skin using treatments like the ones I provide and use products containing Fluorouracil when it is evident that Actinic Keratosis is present in the skin. I encourage all clients to undergo regular skin checks and make sure to nag clients who have very fair skin, or obviously high-risk skin types such as red-heads with very freckly skin to do this regularly and make sure they see the same professional so that their skin is being properly assessed and compared to the way it was previously.
Thick healthy Skin makes using APOC-5FU cream easier!
I once had a 65-year-old client who in her initial consultation described putting her glasses on too quickly and forcefully and getting a black eye due to their skin being so thin and fragile. I think of this whenever someone hears about the service I provide my clients and says they are not interested due to wanting to age gracefully.
I understand not everyone can afford the types of treatments I provide or feels they are worth spending time and money on, however, I see nothing gracefully about thin, fragile skin that breaks apart easily and bruises terribly with very little cause. I also feel looking after how your skin looks is like looking after your hair, cutting and caring for your nails and making sure to appear clean and tidy. Thick, strong and healthy skin is the very best makeup.
It’s logical as we mature and want to attain and maintain a more youthful look that we should work to repair and rebuild the skin as a whole and not only work to make it look better but function better on a cellular level so that results can be built on overtime and the skin can be kept thick, strong and healthy so that we not only look better, but our bodies are more protected from things like bumps, grazes and also the harmful effects of the sun.
The treatments I provide work to target the underlying issues that cause the natural ageing process and work to repair and rebuild the skin as a whole, focusing on thickening the dermis and working to improve the health and integrity of the skin on a cellular level.
In place of loading my clients up with expensive and unnecessary skincare products, I help set my clients up with technologies such as Red LED Light therapy, which works to raise ATP levels by 47% as well as do other amazing things to improve the cellular function of the skin cells, to use every day or every 2-3 days for 20 minutes, and Microcurrent technology which is performed every day in conjunction with using a cheap and effective Hyaluronic acid-rich gel or serum for 3-6 minutes which is able to raise ATP production by 500%.
Whilst working to repair and rebuild the skin properly helps to reverse a lot of the damage suffered over the years, sometimes issues such as Actinic Keratosis need to be addressed by a medical professional such as a dermatologist.
The above picture on the left is of our JennyCat, without any makeup a few weeks after her skin completely recovered from using APOC-5FU cream. The pictures on the right are of Jenny’s skin over a period of 14 days, and the total time she used the cream was 20 days.
Jenny has been coming to Jessicat’s Medi-Spa for treatments since February 2019 and worked through a full course of 4-Stage Face Lifting, Venus Viva and enjoyed just a little Collagen Induction Fractional Microneedling (CIFM) which gained her thicker, stronger and more youthful-looking skin on her full face, neck and chest areas.
Jenny uses cost-effective skin care products, many of which like Cetaphil cleanser is available at local supermarkets and chemists and was also set up with an Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) device and trained to use it so that she can perform at-home treatments ongoing, creating and maintaining a strong and lifted scaffolding of muscle mass for her skin to sit upon. Jenny also performs regular Red LED Light therapy every few days and daily Microcurrent therapies in conjunction with a cheap and effective Hyluronic acid-rich gel or serum to keep the ATP levels high and enable her skin to produce rich levels of collagen and elastin growth ongoing.
Jenny also comes for maintenance 4-Stage and Venus Viva treatments every few months and enjoys FREE Plasma Fibroblast therapy in little problem areas to help fine-tune her results and work to keep her skin in optimal condition.
Even though Jenny’s skin appeared thick, strong and healthy a small patch of pigmentation became worrisome and she had it checked out by a medical professional who recommended she use APOC-5FU cream over a 20-day period. She did this and it was quite surprising how much damage the compound was able to reveal and treat.
What is interesting about Jenny’s case is that she has always protected her skin from the harmful effects of the sun, living in the UK for much of her life where there is a lot less sunshine than in Australia, but even when Jenny immigrated to Australia she worked to keep her skin protected from harmful UV rays, but, alas, the effects of Australia’s harsh sun was still able to affect her skin and result in her having to treat Actinic Keratosis early on so that there was no chance it could turn into Squamous Cell Carcinoma down the track.
The great thing about Jenny having worked through a course of treatments and attaining thick strong and healthy skin is that it was in the very best condition to be able to withstand the effects of APOC-5FU cream which can leave even healthy skin very irritated and fragile and enable it to heal more easily and quickly after working its magic and destroying Actinic Keratosis .
Whilst Jenny’s journey through using a course of APOC-FU cream was not too bad as far as discomfort suffered, and the amount of Actinic Keratosis that was uncovered by using the compound was surprising Maxine’s course of treatment was quite a different journey to behold…
The Above picture on the left is of Maxine, makeup-free four weeks after finishing up using APOC-5FU cream over a period of 20 days. The pictures on the right are of how Maxine‘s skin responded to the application of APOC-5FU cream over the first eight days.
Maxine first came through my doors in May of 2019, wanting to improve pigmentation issues, decrease fine lines, tighten and lift the skin overall and gain a smoother and fresher look to the skin of her face, neck and chest areas overall. I noticed a few patches of pink/brown pigmentation across Maxine’s upper cheeks and forehead area but other than that it looked to me that her skin was thinning due to the natural ageing process and in need of repairing and rebuilding overall Maxine was aware that she needed treatments such as burning patches of pigmentation with dry ice and possibly having to go through using a course of APOC-5FU cream and assured me she would get this done alongside our working together to improve the overall health and condition of her skin. Many times when the skin is repaired and rebuilt on a cellular level, issues such as patches of pink and brown pigmentation disappear which is why I proceeded with providing Maxine with a full course of 4-Stage Face Lifting and Venus Viva treatments.
The 4-Stage process utilises the power of Venus Freeze therapy, delivering medical-grade magnetic pulse and radio frequency (RF) deeply into the skin to dramatically repair and rebuild both the epidermis and more importantly the dermis beneath. LED Light therapy is also used in the 4-Stage process to target pigmentation issues and push the effects of Venus Freeze therapy. These treatments were coupled with Venus Viva therapy which utilises fractional RF to dramatically resurface the skin as well as work in conjunction with Venus Freeze therapy to thicken the skin.
Maxine’s skin responded beautifully to her treatments, becoming more plump, firm and smoother. The pigmentation issues also reduced dramatically, however some patches of pigmentation remained but were less noticeable due to the overall condition of Maxine’s skin being dramatically improved overall.
Due to small patches of pigmentation remaining, and these patches becoming a little raised I encouraged (gently nagged) Maxine to go and have her skin looked over properly by a medical professional. She eventually did this and was advised to use APOC-5FU cream for a period of time in order to treat patches of Actinic Keratoses (a pre-cancerous skin condition), which 20% of the time can if left untreated turn into Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
And thank goodness our MaxineCat did take the journey through treating her skin with APOC-5FU cream!
It turned out there was a lot more Actinic Keratosis within the layers of Maxine’s skin than she, myself or even her dermatologist suspected was there.
Maxine was kind enough to share her journey with her fellow BeautyCats and the general public on her Facebook page, which was incredibly brave and very much appreciated due to it helping to make us all aware of the need to protect our skin properly from the harsh Australian sun and have it checked over regularly as we mature by trained medical professionals. Maxine worked through the first few weeks of using APOC-5FU cream and suffered nausea, burning, itching and savvier dryness whilst working through the full 20 days needed to gain the very best effects from using the compound and at times found it very difficult to sleep due to the discomfort she suffered.
But in the end, our MaxineCat made it through her journey and came in around four weeks after finishing up using the APOC-5FU cream for a much-needed 4-Stage maintenance treatment. Watch the video below to hear what Maxine has to say about her journey.
After using APOC-5FU cream the skin can be very sensitive, irritated, dry and red. Both Maxine and Jenny liked using Cetaphil cleanser due to it being very gentle on sensitive and or irritated skin. Many of my clients who suffer from highly reactive skin also like DermaVeen Soap-Free Cleansing bar and I feel the DermaVeen Bath Soak may also work well to soothe skin that is healing from using APOC-5FU cream, maybe even during using the cream to soothe it when it is at its most irritated.
Both Jenny and Maxine used Red LED Light therapy after they stopped using APOC-5FU cream to help speed up the natural healing process and liked using Cetaphil moisturiser and Bepanthen Tattoo cream to soothe away the feeling of dryness, decrease irritation and protect their healing skin. I think may work well are DermaVeen Ezma ointment may also work well.
It is best to talk to the medical practitioner who prescribed the use of APOC-5FU cream about what products are best to use whilst you are using the compound and afterwards to help with the healing process.
Medical professionals who may be able to help you 😀
These doctors have helped my ladies to use Chemo Cream, also known as CaracTM, Efudex®, Fluoroplex®, 5-fluorouracil and 5-FU to treat patches of Actinic Keratosis within their skin, and help stop the formation of Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
I believe these doctors have also at times used treatments like applying dry ice to the skin in order to burn away patches of problem skin cells and decrease the look of unwanted pigmentation and perform biopsies in order to diagnose potentially dangerous growths.
Please understand I am not recommending or endorsing these medical professionals in any way and take no responsibility for any negative issues that may result in contacting them or using their services. I am simply sharing the details of medical professionals my clients have used to help them with their skin issues.
-Dr Rodriguez – (08) 9305 9944.
Beach Medical Center.
Unit 6 and 7, 22 Hughie Edwards Dr, Merriwa WA 6030.
-Dr Genevieve Sadler, Dermatologist – (08) 9314 9900
Dermatology Specialist Group.
5 Almondbury Road, Ardross, WA, 6153.
-Dr Susan Parlmer, Certificate of Skin Surgery – (08) 9301 1825.
The Skin and Mole Clinic.
Suite 1A Ground Floor, 52 Davidson Terrace, Joondalup WA 6027.
-Dr Lester Cowell
Suite 3 (ground floor) 5 Rockingham Rd (near Hampton Rd/Cockburn Rd),
Hamilton Hill WA 6163.
I would like to thank both Maxine and Jenny for allowing me to share their journey with using APOC-5FU cream with you. It is so important in Australia to be aware of the harmful effects of the sun and make sure to seek medical advice when noticing changes in mature age skin. Prevention is key and early action leads to early detection and treatment. I hope the information contained within this blog empowers you with the knowledge that enables you to go on to make better decisions when choosing the right treatments for your individual needs. Jessicat Xxx