Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a breakthrough dermatologic treatment that has beenhighly successful in the treatment of Actinic Keratoses (AK), mild to resistant Acne, Hidradenitis Suppurativa and other skinconditions. Whether you have tried other treatments in the past with limited success or are treating your condition for the first time, photodynamic therapy may be just the right treatment for you.
This innovative therapy is a two-step process. First, the affected areas are treated with a topical solution called Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA). ALA is a “natural” product found in all humans throughout the body. It is a precursor for hemoglobin synthesis. This medic ation is left on for approximately 15 minutes. Then, the patient is exposed to a light known as the Blue-U for 6 minutes. The Blue-U uses a specific non-damaging wavelength that when combined with ALA destroys certain precancerous lesions and the bacteria associated with acne.
This therapy requires multiple treatments which are performed every 2-4 weeks. The only reported side effects are minor stinging, burning, redness, swelling and/or itching which should subside within 24 hours.
Pros and cons of PDT
Studies have shown that PDT can work as well as surgery or radiation therapy in treating certain kinds of cancers and pre-cancers. It has some advantages, such as:
But PDT has limits, too. It can only treat areas where light can reach. This means it’s mainly used to treat problems on or just under the skin, or in the lining of organs that can be reached with the light source. While some of the drugs can travel throughout the body, the treatment only works where the light shines. This is why PDT can’t be used to treat cancers that have spread to many places. Also, the drugs that are currently used leave people very sensitive to light for some time, so special precautions must be taken after the drugs are put in or on the body.
BEFORE & AFTER PDT
PDT patients must avoid exposure to direct sunlight or bright indoor light for a period of 48 hours after treatment. All patients treated with the Blue-U must wear sunscreen with an SPF 30 or above on the treated areas for at least 48 hours post-treatment. It is also recommended that you cover the treatment areas with protective clothing (e.g. a hat or scarf) and stay in the shade if possible.
This procedure provides a non-invasive method for targeting inflammatory and pre-cancerous lesions on the face. Recent studies show between 68-86% improvement using Photodynamic Therapy with a high patient satisfaction rating.
PHOTODYNAMIC FOR ACNE
About the Procedure
The procedure is called Photodynamic Therapy (PDT). Whether treating acne or sun damage, the process is very similar. The treatment utilizes a drug, called Levulan ALA, and a light source that can kill the p.acnes bacteria in your skin. Levulan has been used in the skin for decades to treat severe sun damage and skin cancers in adults.
The product, called Kerastick, is applied topically (directly on the skin) and allowed to incubate painlessly for approximately 1 hour. A light or laser source is then used to "photo-activate" the Levulan ALA and thus directly affect the hair follicle and sebaceous glands.
Prior to the procedure, your skin will be prepped, ensuring skin is clean and free of all makeup, moisturizers and sunscreens. During the procedure, the Blu-U light source is used. It is important to note that there are no ultraviolet rays in this light source.
The treatment itself takes approximately 10 minutes. You may feel mild stinging or burning when the skin is exposed to the light or laser source. Afterwards there is no, or minimal pain. You should expect mild to moderate redness and scaling that can persist from 0-5 days, like a mild sunburn.
Patients usually require at least 3 treatments spaced at 3 week intervals to see significant improvement (80% or greater) for months at a time. Depending on the severity of the condition, the number and strength of the required treatments will vary. After achieving long term reduction in acne lesions, infrequent treatments can be done to maintain long term efficacy. Unfortunately, as of now medical insurances do not cover this form of acne treatment.
Photodynamic Therapy for acne - especially those hard to get rid of cysts.
Do you have other questions?
Please schedule an appointment and we can work with you in determining the best options available to reach your goals.
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