Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an effective treatment option for both Acne and for actinic keratoses (pre-cancerous skin lesions). Treatment involves exposing affected areas of the skin to specific wavelengths of light ("blue light") to kill Acne bacteria or the pre-cancerous cells associated with actinic keratoses
Acne. PDT is a gentle and effective treatment for moderate acne, approved by the FDA. Treatment is simple and involves sitting under a medical blue light for about 17 minutes, twice a week, for 5 - 13 weeks (depending on the severity of the acne). After this initial regimen, 17 minute maintenance sessions are needed, typically twice a month. If you are unhappy with antibiotics and/or topical treatments for your acne, blue light therapy may provide a safe and effective alternative.
Actinic keratoses. PDT destroys pre-cancerous actinic keratoses (AKs). PDT is performed in our dermatology office by applying a liquid called Levulan to the sun damaged areas of your skin containing AKs. When applied to the skin, Levulan accumulates inside the pre-cancerous cells and causes them to be sensitive to blue light.The Levulan-treated skin is then exposed to blue light, resulting in destruction of the AKs. PDT is generally well-tolerated by patients, involves less "down time" from work than other therapies for AK, has fewer and less severe side effects than other therapies, and is non-scaring and non-invasive (in other words, no needles, surgery or anesthesia are required). Even with all these benefits, however, PDT does have some side effects. Immediately after treatment, skin may feel sunburned. Patients can not be exposed to the sun for 48 hours after treatment and inflammation/peeling of treated skin may last for up to 7 days. In the end, however, PDT generally results in improved cosmetic appearance of skin in addition to effective removal of AKs.
If you have questions about photodynamic therapy, please feel free to contact our office for more information.