Cryotherapy for solar keratoses

Cryotherapy (freezing) is a simple and effective treatment for solar keratoses.

The doctor treats individual solar keratoses for 15-20 seconds each. This treatment has a high success rate and is relatively quick and inexpensive.

Cryotherapy is a good first-line treatment for solar keratoses because:

  • usually only a single treatment is required
  • pain and discomfort settle quickly
  • side effects such as infection and scarring are unusual
  • the cost is relatively low

If there are many solar keratoses (more than 20 or so), cryotherapy may not be the best treatment because:

  • there is a greater risk of side effects such as pain or blistering
  • cryotherapy can only treat lesions which are visible on the day of treatment—it has no effect on solar keratoses which are still developing and not yet visible

If you have many solar keratoses, treatment with a cream such as imiquimod (Aldara), diclofenac (Solaraze) or fluorouracil (Efudix) may be a better alternative to cryotherapy.

Further Information: Conditions