I’m always astonished, when I walk into the dermatology office, at how many practitioners there are. This is clearly a huge specialty area of medicine, even excluding what I would call “vanity treatments” like Botox. Young people have acne. People of all ages have diseases, or treatments for diseases, that cause skin eruptions. We aging patients have sun damage, especially those of us with what one dermatologist called my “lovely Celtic skin that has had all the sun it should ever get.”
I started seeing patches of actinic keratosis on my face several years ago, back in Rochester. A percentage of these sun damage spots become cancerous, so the treatment is to blast all of them off in early stages with cryotherapy. The cold blast stings, and the area is tender for the rest of the day — but the potential problem is averted. I’ve actually had fewer spots needing treatment now than I did in the early years, which means my care to wear sunscreen and a hat — the latter most of the time — is helping.
I had one spot treated on Friday, and it was a rather large one — which may mean going back in two or three months for another blast. Not my fave, but relative to all the other things that can go wrong with a 73 year old body, this one’s a pip.