Cryotherapy or “freezing” is a treatment technique in which skin lesions are frozen. Cryotherapy can therefore be seen as a controlled way to induce localised frost bite.
The freezing of the skin lesions is achieved by spraying a cold liquid in aerosol form onto the skin lesion. The liquid is most often liquid nitrogen which has a temperature of -196 degress Celcius.
Many different skin lesions, including Warts, Solar keratosis, Seborrheic keratosis and Molluscum Contagiosum can be treated with Cryotherapy.
The treatment is uncomfortable and can sometimes be painful. For this reason alternative therapies should at least be considered in children. Warts and Molluscum Contagiosum in children are often easier and less painfully treated with wart immunotherapy or Cantharidine application respectively.
There are also better treatment options for solar keratosis and severe sundamage, especially photodynamic therapy.
Despite newer and sometimes better alternatives to cryotherapy, cryotherapy still has a role to play in some skin conditions.