What is Photodynamic Therapy?
At the Dermatology Laser center & MediSpa, we use Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) as a state-of-the-art treatment that combines activating a topically applied photosensitizing solution with either the Blu-U Blue Light Source or Intense Pulsed Light to improve acne and pre-cancerous skin growths (actinic keratoses) in a safe, effective, non-invasive, and cosmetically acceptable way.
As an added benefit of treatment, many patients will also find PDT may:
- improve signs of sun damage
- improve fine lines
- improve blotchy pigmentation
The photosensitizing solution is called Levulan (5-aminolevulinic acid or ALA), which we will apply to the surface of the area of your skin being treated. The Levulan is then preferentially absorbed by the pre-cancerous skin cells as well as the oil glands and pores, making these more sensitive to the light treatment. Once the Levulan is applied, there will be an incubation period of time of leaving it on your skin while in our office, followed by treatment with the Blu-U or Intense Pulsed Light.
How do the Photodynamic Treatments Work?
In treating pre-cancerous skin lesions (actinic keratoses), there is an incubation time of approximately one hour after applying the Levulan to your affected skin before receiving the BLU-U or Intense Pulsed Light Treatment. Your treatment will be completely painless.
This combination treatment leads to:
- a reduction and destruction of the abnormal skin cells (actinic keratoses)
- healthier, smoother, rejuvenated skin
This treatment is especially advantageous in treating areas of the face where there are extensive actinic keratoses.
In treating acne, there is an incubation time of approximately one hour after applying the Levulan before receiving the Blu-U or Intense Pulsed Light Treatment. Your treatment will be completely painless.
PDT is believed to work by:
- shrinking the oil glands of the skin (sebaceous glands) that contribute to the development of acne.
- Reducing blackheads and whiteheads by greatly reducing oil gland production inside the pores.
- Killing the bacteria residing within the sebaceous follicles which participate in causing acne breakouts.
As an added benefit, PDT helps to:
- improve the texture of the skin
- minimize pores
- clear the spotty red or brown discoloration that is left long after the acne pimple resolves
How many treatments are needed?
Our patients treated for Actinic Keratoses with PDT typically require 1-2 treatments spaced about one month apart, giving our patients over 80% clearance. In select cases, additional spot treatments may be needed with liquid nitrogen cryotherapy, or with additional PDT treatments for complete clearance. Some patients who have excessive sun damage from years of daily sun exposure may need a once a year treatment for maintenance.
Our patients treated for Acne with PDT usually receive the Blu-U/Levulan treatments once a month for 3-4 treatments. On average, we typically see about a 75% clearance or greater, even several months after treatment. Some patients may be more resistant and require additional treatments. Single maintenance treatments may be needed in some patients 1-2 times yearly. PDT can be an excellent alternative treatment where topical, or oral antibiotics have failed.
To learn more about PDT and to find out if you can benefit from this treatment…
Call now to schedule a consultation at (410) 356-0000