Cryotherapy refers to removing skin lesions through the process of freezing them.
This is performed at Face Clinic London using liquid nitrogen.
Using cryotherapy we treat warts, skin tags, seborrheic keratoses and actinic keratoses.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the cryotherapy procedure involve?
We use the Cryopen device for accurately delivering the liquid nitrogen towards the skin lesion to be removed. The Cryopen emits a very fine jet, allowing a much more focused and targeted treatment than larger canisters sometimes used. This results in less unwanted side effects, and a more comfortable procedure, due to the fact that surrounding healthy tissue can be avoided.
The procedure lasts only a matter of seconds and although slight discomfort is felt, it does not require anaesthetic and is very well tolerated. The skin lesion will appear white and then thaw back to its original appearance within a minute. Over the next week or two, the skin lesion should scab and fall off. Depending on the nature of the skin lesion involved, it may take more than one procedure for this process to be complete.
Are there side effects from Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy performed by our Doctors is a very safe treatment. Most side effects are minimal and temporary. These include redness, swelling and the possibility of slight oozing or a small blister formation. Less common side effects, considered to be rare, may include scarring, pigment changes to the skin treated, or loss of sensation to that part of the skin. In the vast majority of cases, when performed correctly, cryotherapy is a safe and effective treatment for the removal of specific benign skin lesions.
What are warts?
A wart is an infection of the top layer of the skin by a virus known as the human papilloma virus. The infection causes thickening of the skin, which is seen and recognised as a wart.
Warts can be caught from direct skin to skin contact or from indirect transmission, e.g. a contaminated surface such as a shower cubicle.
Warts typically persist for months or longer, but will often resolve within two years if left alone. For those that do not resolve, or for patients wanting a faster solution, there are a variety of treatments ranging from over the counter creams to surgical excision. Due to the limited effectiveness of creams, and the high rates of scarring and recurrence with surgical techniques, cryotherapy is a popular form of treatment for viral warts.
Please note we do not treat genital warts, and would recommend visiting your local sexual health clinic for this treatment.
What are skin tags?
A skin tag is simply an overgrowth of the skin, usually smooth and soft, and appearing anywhere on the body. Skin tags are frequently found in multiple and often a result of surface trauma to the skin, such as the rubbing of clothes or jewellery against the skin. Skin tags are very easily treated with cryotherapy, usually requiring only one session.
What are Seborrhoeic Keratoses?
Seborrhoeic Keratosis are benign growths due to a build up of skin cells. Why they occur is not entirely well understood. A genetic predisposition is likely and there is some thought they may be linked to sunlight and the human papilloma virus. They are harmless growths, but can become a nuisance due to itching, inflammation or catching on clothing.
What are Actinic Keratoses?
Actinic Keratoses are areas of sun damaged skin. Actinic Keratoses carry a very small risk of progressing into a form of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.
How can I tell what my skin lesion is?
We recommend all new skin lesions, or changes within an existing skin lesion are seen by your GP for diagnosis or referral to a dermatologist as required. Skin lesions diagnosed as one of those discussed on this page are suitable for treatment with cryotherapy at Face Clinic London. One of our Doctors will be able to look at your skin lesion and advise on its suitability for cryotherapy treatment.
Why remove skin lesions with Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy provides a low risk and fast way of treating certain skin lesions. In many cases the predominant reason for seeking removal is because the skin lesion is unsightly or embarrassing. In the case of viral warts, cryotherapy treatment can reduce the chance of spread to other areas of the skin. In some cases skin lesions can become a nuisance through inflammation, itching, or catching on clothing, which provides another common reason for people seeking treatment for removal.