Healthcare Cost

How Much Does It Cost To Treat Actinic Keratosis Without Insurance in 2023?

Michelle Fleming
Michelle Fleming19 Dec 2022

Actinic keratosis is a common precancerous skin condition. The cost to treat actinic keratosis without insurance through cryotherapy ranges from $75 to $425. There are topical treatments with prices that range from $92 to $184. On average, a dermatology consultation without insurance through self-pay costs $150, and the cost of treatment is added to this first payment.

The Cost of Cryotherapy Treatment at Different Locations and Clinics

Cryotherapy on the first actinic keratosis lesion costs about $110. It increases with the number of lesions that need to be treated. Some of the lowest-cost locations for cryotherapy treatment are New York City, NY, and Houston, TX. In Chicago, IL it is more costly.

The table below includes cost estimates for cryotherapy and the average self-pay cost of treatment for different quantities of actinic keratoses.

LocationClinic NameActinic Keratosis Cryotherapy Treatment Cost
New York City, NYModern Dermatology$75 for the first; $100 for the second and third; $140 for 4-14
Chicago, ILAdvanced Dermatology$130 for the first; $38 for 2-14; $425 for 15+
Houston, TXTexas Skin Center$100 for 1-14; $150 for 15+
Orlando, FLDerrow Dermatology$140 for the first; $10 for 2-14; $250 for 15+
San Francisco, CACalifornia Dermatology Care$100 for 1-3; $175 for 3+

What is Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy is a treatment in which liquid nitrogen is applied to the actinic keratosis lesion. This causes the lesion to peel and fall off eventually, and new skin will heal. It is the most common and effective form of treatment for actinic keratoses. It may need to be done over several dermatology visits to destroy the lesions entirely.

What are Topicals?

Topicals are a type of medication that is applied directly to the skin in the form of creams. Two of the most common topical creams prescribed for actinic keratosis are 5-fluorouracil and imiquimod. 

Brand of TopicalQuantityCost Without Insurance
Fluoroplex (5-fluorouracil)30g of 1%$1,086.30
Tolak (5-fluorouracil)40g of 4%$311.29
Aldara (imiquimod)12 packets of 5%$125.01
Zyclara (imiquimod)7.5 g of 3.75%$1,355.18

The regimens for topicals all vary. Your dermatologist may prescribe that you apply the topical once or twice a day for two weeks, etc. They may prescribe you different topicals based on the drug concentration you need. Depending on the effectiveness of this regimen, you may or may not need to continue it for longer.

Mira offers prescription discounts on topicals, such as Zyclara, bringing the cost from $1,355.18 to $153.90, depending on your location.

Additional Costs 

Cryotherapy for multiple actinic keratoses: The cost of treatment increases with the number of lesions you must treat. The first 14 actinic keratoses cost about the same amount ($100), and the cost of each increases for 15 or more.

Repurchasing topical creams: These costs may add up if topicals need to be repurchased.

Sunscreen is the main form of actinic keratosis prevention, as sun damage is the primary cause of this condition. Your dermatologist may recommend you use sunscreen to prevent further damage.

Photodynamic therapy is another form of actinic keratosis treatment. It is a two-step process in which a topical is applied to the skin, and blue light is used to destroy the precancerous growth. It is only used on the face or scalp and ranges in cost from $743-$1,143.

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Factors that Influence the Cost of Actinic Keratosis Treatment

Some factors that may influence the cost of actinic keratosis treatment are the severity and quantity of actinic keratosis spots.


If a topical has been prescribed to you and does not fully treat the actinic keratoses, then you may need to consider cryotherapy or repurchasing topicals, which may add up in costs. However, if the growth is severe and is on the face or scalp, photodynamic therapy may need to be used as treatment, which is generally more costly than cryotherapy or topicals.


As actinic keratosis is treated by quantity (if with cryotherapy), the cost increases with the number of actinic keratoses that need to be treated. 

Actinic Keratosis Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are some commonly asked questions about actinic keratosis treatment and side effects. 

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What Does Actinic Keratosis Look Like?

Actinic Keratosis is typically asymptomatic, and no illness occurs. Thus it can be hard to self-diagnose. Some appearances to look out for are rough, thick patches on the skin appearing red, pink, or gray; chronic, extremely chapped lips; and non-healing pimple-like growths. Some symptoms may be itching, bleeding, and burning on these patches.

How Can I Prevent Actinic Keratosis?

The leading cause of this precancerous skin condition is sun damage. Actinic Keratosis is common in older adults with light skin who sunburn easily because long-term ultraviolet radiation (sun exposure) leads to such growth. 

How Important Is It That I Get Actinic Keratosis Treatment?

Treating Actinic Keratosis is essential because it is a precancerous condition and can transform into skin cancer, specifically squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma is a form of skin cancer that appears as growths or patches on the skin and can spread across the body and cause complications in tissue and organs.

What Should I Expect After Treatment?

  1. Cryotherapy: You can expect to see blisters and some swelling after cryotherapy treatment. After a few days, the blisters should scab, and the swelling should go down.
  2. Creams/Topicals: When using topicals, it is crucial to avoid sun exposure. You can expect to see redness and scaling and feel a slight burning sensation and sun sensitivity- all expected reactions.

Bottom Line

The cost of cryotherapy treatment depends on the number of lesions you have, as treating each one costs a certain amount. On average, the cost without insurance ranges from $75 to $425. Topical creams are usually a one-time purchase and are applied at home on a specific regimen prescribed by your doctor- and may need to be repurchased based on the treatment effectiveness. On average, without insurance, they range in cost from $125 to $1,300.

Mira offers prescription discounts on topicals that can treat actinic keratosis. Memberships start at just $45 per month and members can access low-cost urgent care visits, affordable lab testing, and discounted prescriptions at up to 80% off. Sign up today and get started!

Michelle Fleming

Michelle Fleming is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Public Health, focusing on biostatistics and informatics and minoring in Health Communications. Michelle is passionate about bridging the gap in health inequalities through advocacy and policy, especially within minority groups.