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Let’s start with the basics. Actinic keratosis is caused by a cell mutation in the lower levels of the epidermis. For patients prone to AKs, the cell mutation is amplified by UV rays emitted by the sun. This means that in the summer, patients that are prone to AKs are at greater risk and need to take significant precautions to ensure that the cell mutation is not further exacerbated.
Staying out of the sun and wearing sunscreen may help slow down the development of AKs, however, it’s like brushing your teeth when you have a cavity; your teeth may be clean but the cavity is still there. The right chemical peel will remove the cavity.
Superficial peels are not effective on AKs because the acid doesn’t reach the basal layers where the cell mutation begins. As a result, the skin cell mutation will continue to regenerate over and over again. A medium-depth peel, like the VI Peel, will penetrate to the papillary dermis and eradicate the mutated cells and keep them from reforming.
Practitioners shouldn't wait for AKs to develop in those at risk, but rather institute a proactive approach with preventative measures. During the summer months, when the UV Index is highest, medical treatments are key. We recommend patients receive two VI Peels during the summer. By performing the VI Peel when UV rays are strongest, practitioners will greatly reduce the chances that skin cancer will develop.