Up until now, current treatments for actinic keratosis (AK) have been far from perfect, but because AK is thought to be a precursor to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC), an imperfect treatment was better than none. Often referred to as sunspots, or solar keratosis, the potential for these to morph into a melanoma is real and early treatment is the best option. A new simple treatment, without side effects, is now available and I would like to discuss it with you today.
Actinic keratoses are scaly, red and occasionally itchy patches on areas of exposed skin — usually on patients over 50 years old, but can manifest in younger adults, particularly with prolonged sun exposure. Current treatments include photodynamic therapy, or a selection of topical products that present side effects worse than the original lesion. All of these require several weeks of application for treatment to work and they tend to cause a huge inflammatory skin response — meaning compliance becomes an issue and patients do not continue through with the treatments.
But recently a new topical cream has been released that not only shows promise in treatment of AK, but may also have the ability to regress early stage BCC, without any visible side effects.
The product, marketed under the brand name ofZenaDerm, is a cream utilising the active ingredients found in Tea Tree Oil, known as terpinen-4-ol. In clinical trials on Tea Tree Oil, first conducted at theUniversity of Western Australiaby a team of doctors headed up by Professor Thomas V Riley, and then later with 5 clinical trials on ZenaDerm at the University of Kentucky conducted by Professor Don Cohen, this product showed remarkable ability to regress early stage Basal Cell Carcinoma.
Several clinical trials support the efficacy of Tea Tree Oil and its active components, and importantly the product appears to work effectively without any visible side effects. In my opinion that is probably the products most valuable attribute, because if it is easy to use and there aren’t any side effects, patients are more likely to continue using it for the full course (in this case 7-10 days) and results will be better.
In my opinion this product shows great promise for the treatment of Actinic Keratosis, and its less dangerous cousin, Seborrheic Keratosis, and should be considered an option in the treatment of these unsightly lesions. ZenaDerm is manufactured in Australia and sold through Global Health Direct.