What is the cold spray that your dermatologist uses?

Courtesy of wikipedia user Warfieldian.

For those of you who may have seen your physician for warts, barnacle growths (seborrheic keratoses), actinic keratoses (pre-cancers caused by sun) or even some skin cancers, you may have experienced cryotherapy. Cryo refers to cold, and cryotherapy is a method by which cells are destroyed by extreme cold temperatures down to -196 degrees celsius!

Most commonly, physicians use liquid nitrogen which is then sprayed through the canister in the photo above and turns into a gas outside of the canister. This stream is directed at the target to be destroyed!

Cryotherapy stings (at least in my patients’ and my experience). Afterwards, your skin might be red and you might get a blister or some crusting. This should heal up but if you have concerns after treatment, let your physician know.

So now you know a little more about that scary looking can that your physician may have sprayed you with!