How to Use Carac Cream

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Too much sun may cause actinic keratosis.
Too much sun may cause actinic keratosis. (Image: stockxpert/frantab)

Carac Cream treats actinic keratosis, a skin condition caused by sun damage. Carac Cream works similarly to Retin-A, but Carac draws the dark spots out of the skin, forming scabs that ultimately fall off. Some users find that the unsightly healing process of thick scabs and skin erosions, along with the painful side effects of burning, itching, inflammation and edema, make this treatment option intolerable. You can use Carac Cream without experiencing unpleasant effects and camouflage the forgivable appearance during the month-long treatment plan.

Things You'll Need

  • Moisturizer
  • Sunscreen
  • Pain reliever

Wash your face with a gentle cleanser, rinse thoroughly, and pat your face dry. Try Cetaphil facial cleanser from your local drugstore, or use one recommended by your dermatologist. Do not rub your face dry with a towel.

Apply Carac to your face. Your doctor may recommend treating a specific spot or a local area on your skin. Apply the cream exactly as your dermatologist prescribes. Wash your hands immediately after the application.

Apply moisturizer two hours after the Carac application. Choose a nonirritating moisturizer such as Aquaphor, available at your local drugstore, or special order a moisturizer for patients recovering from cosmetic procedures. Ask your doctor about Obagi Nu-Derm products, as dermatologists often sell these products at their offices (see Resources).

Apply sunscreen 10 minutes after the moisturizer application. Use a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (see Resources).

Apply cover-up if approved by your doctor. Dermablend, CoverBlend, and Linda Seidel offer camouflage solutions to peeling and darkening during the healing process. CoverBlend offers a soft glycolic approach, treating skin as it covers, but it may irritate some patients. Some dermatologists sell Linda Seidel products, so you have a cover-up option before you leave the office and begin treatment. You may also request samples from the company (see Resources).

Call your doctor if you experience severe or unusual side effects. Rare side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, and digestive problems such as acid reflux or difficulty swallowing. Your doctor may suggest that the benefits of Carac outweigh the side effects. However, if you experience fever, chills, bloody diarrhea or severe abdominal pain, discontinue Carac applications and report this to your doctor immediately.

Tips & Warnings

  • Actinic keratosis is common among residents living in sunny climates and those who work outdoors, such as construction workers. Residents in warm climates need a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high sun protection factor all year round. Apply sunscreen over moisturizer after bathing, even after washing your hands. If using Carac Cream on the body, wear clothing that protects and hides the scabs and peeling. If you use Carac Cream on your face or other visible location, ask your doctor if you can treat a specific spot or area instead of your full face. This way, you can cope with minor imperfections or wear a small bandage to cover up what you deem an unsightly appearance. Scabbing may be painful. Take oral pain medication or try an external anesthetic such as Neosporin or Band-Aid Antiseptic Wash Hurt Free containing Lidocaine. Reapply throughout the day as needed, as long as it is at least two hours after a Carac application or ten minutes before a Carac application. You may require several rounds of treatment, depending on your skin condition, age, and other factors. Those successfully finishing the treatment are happy with the results. If you had patience with the irregularities of your skin from actinic keratosis, you may find enough patience to push you through the treatment plan.
  • Carac Cream may have unintended side effects, such as toxity and life-threatening enzyme dificiency. Ask your doctor before treating your skin with a skincare product while using Carac Cream.

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