Cryotherapy at a Glance

Best Results 1 - 4
Duration of Results 12 - 18 months
Treatment Recovery 1 - 3 weeks
Risks & Complications Medium
Anaesthetic None
Procedure Time 60 mins
Skin Specialist Therapist
Back To Work Next day

Skin Renewal Tip

If numerous sunspots are present, especially in severely sun-damaged individuals with precancerous lesions also know as Actinic Keratoses, a superior treatment PDT/ALA is recommended as this destroys the cancerous cells.

For an aesthetic result without Actinic Keratoses, a medium depth chemical peel that has a downtime of 7 to 10 days offers significant improvement in skin texture, pigmentation as well as treatment of AKs. It contains a combination of Lactic acid; Salicylic acid; Resorcinol; TCA and Vitamin A.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cryotherapy or fat freezing treatments are available in Johannesburg at FourwaysParkhurstMorningside, BedfordviewWest Rand, Waterfall and Illovo as well as in Pretoria at Brooklyn and Irene and in the Western Cape at Cape QuarterClaremontConstantiaStellenboschWillowbridgePaarl, and in KwaZulu-Natal at BallitoDurban & Umhlanga.

Cryotherapy or fat freezing is a technique that uses an extremely cold liquid or instrument to freeze and destroy abnormal skin cells that require removal. The technique has been in use since the turn of the century, but modern techniques have made it widely available to dermatologists and primary care doctors. The technique is also called cryosurgery.

Cryotherapy can be employed to destroy a variety of benign skin growths, such as warts and age spots, pre-cancerous lesions (such as actinic keratoses), and malignant lesions (such as basal cell and squamous cell cancers). The goal of cryotherapy is to freeze and destroy targeted skin growths while preserving the surrounding skin from injury.

Cryotherapy is not recommended for certain areas of the body because of the danger of destruction of tissue or unacceptable scarring. These areas include skin that overlies nerves, the corners of the eyes, the fold of skin between the nose and lip, the skin surrounding the nostrils, and the border between the lips and the rest of the face.

Lesions that are suspected or known to be malignant melanoma should not be treated with cryotherapy, but should instead be removed surgically. Similarly, basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas that have reappeared at the site of a previously treated tumor should also be removed surgically. If it remains unclear whether a growth is benign or malignant, a sample of tissue should be removed for analysis (biopsy) by a pathologist before any attempts to destroy the lesion with cryotherapy.

Care should be taken in people with diabetes or certain circulation problems when cryotherapy is considered for growths located on their lower legs, ankles, and feet. In these patients, healing can be poor and the risk of infection can be higher than for other patients.

There are two main techniques to performing cryotherapy. In the simplest technique, usually reserved for warts and other benign skin growths, the physician will dip a cotton swab or other applicator into a cup containing a "cryogen," such as liquid nitrogen, and apply it directly to the skin growth to freeze it. At a temperature of -320 deg F (-196 deg C), liquid nitrogen is the coldest cryogen available. The goal is to freeze the skin growth as quickly as possible, and then let it thaw slowly to cause maximum destruction of the skin cells. A second application may be necessary depending on the size of the growth.

In another cryotherapy technique, a device is used to direct a small spray of liquid nitrogen or other cryogens directly onto the skin growth. Freezing may last from five to 20 seconds, depending on the size of the lesion. A second freeze-thaw cycle may be required.

Redness, swelling, and the formation of a blister at the site of cryotherapy are all expected results of the treatment. A gauze dressing is applied and patients should wash the site three or four times daily while fluid continues to ooze from the wound, usually for five to 14 days. A dry crust then forms that falls off by itself. Wounds on the head and neck may take four to six weeks to heal, but those on the body, arms, and legs can take longer. Some patients experience pain at the site following the treatment. This can usually be eased with Panado, though in some cases a stronger pain reliever such as Stopayne may be required.

Cryotherapy poses little risk and can be well-tolerated by the elderly and other patients who are not good candidates for other surgical procedures. As with other surgical procedures, there is some risk of scarring, infection, and damage to underlying skin and tissue. This is especially true of areas that keloids easily such as the décolleté ( chest) area and the hands and lower forearms. These risks are generally minimal in the hands of experienced users of cryotherapy.

Although cryotherapy is a relatively low-risk procedure, some side effects may occur as a result of the treatment.

They include:

  • Infection. Though uncommon, infection is more likely on the lower legs where healing can take several months.
  • Pigmentary changes. Both hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin) and hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) are possible after cryotherapy. Both generally last a few months but can be longer-lasting.
  • Keloid formation on the chest area.
  • Nerve damage. Though rare, damage to nerves is possible, particularly in areas where they lie closer to the surface of the skin, such as the fingers, the wrist, and the area behind the ear. Reports suggest this will disappear within several months.

At Skin Renewal we offer the Acutip 500™ or the LimeLight™ to treat age or sun spots.

Acutip 500™ is a new light technology that replaces liquid nitrogen to treat individual sun spots without the risk of scarring or hypopigmentation that occurs with traditional cryotherapy. With its unique design, the Cutera Acutip delivers light energy safely and effectively to treat individual sunspots and small spider veins. The cooled tip is ideally sized for treating age spots on the nose, cheek, chin, and other areas of the face. It can just as easily be used to remove sun or age spots often found on the most sun-exposed areas such as the face, chest or décolleté, arms, hands, and even isolated spots on the lower legs.

The visible light delivered by the Acutip is selectively absorbed by the pigmented spots on your skin. It's the heating of the pigmented cells that causes the therapeutic effect. The removal of the sunspot is removed without the risk of scarring or hypopigmentation that occurs with traditional cryotherapy.

Virtually any part of your body with sun and age spots or freckles can be safely treated. The face, chest, shoulders, and arms are the most popular areas for treatment because they typically have the most sun exposure. Traditionally isolated 'age spots" have been treated with cryotherapy also known as liquid nitrogen treatment. On certain areas of the body, especially the décolleté and the lower arms and hands, this sometimes results in a hypopigmented "scar" if a lesion with scabbing results. The Acutip 500 ™ is a pulsed light system that only treats the melanin in the pigmented spot and not the normal skin surrounding it. Blister formation does not result and a better aesthetic result is attained.

Cherry angiomas (small red lesions found on non-exposed areas such as the abdomen) respond to Acutip therapy usually with just one treatment.

When the handpiece is placed on your skin, it will feel cool and comfortable. When the pulse of light is delivered, you may feel a mild, brief pinching sensation.

The actual treatment will only take a few minutes. And, since there is no need to apply gel or topical anesthetic, your total appointment time can easily fit into your lunch hour.

Typically, one or two treatments are sufficient to see dramatic results for either sun spots or facial veins. Additional treatments may be required for very dark spots or where there are many unwanted facial veins.

Sunspots: Immediately following the treatment of sunspots, the spots may start to darken. You may notice a slight reddening of the surrounding skin. This typically subsides within a couple of hours. Over the course of the next one to three weeks, darkened spots will fade and flake off.

The same spots or veins will not reappear, however, new spots or veins could appear after excess sun exposure to unprotected skin. These new spots and veins may also be removed. Remember to liberally apply sunscreen when outdoors to both minimize sun damage and prevent the appearance of new spots and unwanted superficial facial veins.

Yes. Acutip is an excellent treatment by itself, but it can also be effectively combined with other light-based and aesthetic procedures.

1 Reviews (average: 5 out of 5)

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*Please note results may vary by individuals.
Review -Hemelse ervaring
Reviewed on 8 November 2014 by Alida Vlok

Dit was 'n hemelse ervaring. Baie skoon, netjies met vriendelike, goed opgeleide personeel. Ek sal beslis weer gaan na Skin Renewal in Somerset Wes!

Sharon Izak Elaine Chat staff ) WhatsApp