Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

DermSurgery Associates physicians use PDT Red Light Therapy to kill pre-malignant or cancerous cells. PDT treatment is a technology that pairs photosensitizing agents – topical drugs like Levulen or Ameluz – with a certain type of light. This special type of drug works only after being activated by this light.

How Does Photodynamic Skin Care Therapy Work?

In photodynamic therapy a photosensitizer is applied to the skin. This is absorbed preferentially by certain structures in the skin, such as hair follicles, oil glands, bacteria, or rapidly growling cells. Illumination with a high-intensity light or lasers causes a reaction in the skin, resulting in destruction of the targeted tissue.

What Types of Conditions Can Be Treated With Photodynamic Therapy?

Photodynamic therapy has been effective in the treatment of actinic keratosis (pre-cancerous spots), sun damaged skin, acne, warts, and many other diseases.

How Does Photodynamic Therapy Treat Acne and Acne Scarring?

Photodynamic therapy seems to improve active acne and oily skin by decreasing the bacteria on the skin and by shrinking the oil producing sebaceous glands. It also stimulates collagen production to diminish the appearance of acne scarring. This requires multiple treatments.

Is Photodynamic Therapy Uncomfortable?

During PDT the skin is washed several times and the activated substance is applied. Either of these may cause stinging. Following the skin care treatment there may be some transient itching and a mild sunburn sensation.

May I Be Exposed to the Sun Following Photodynamic Therapy?

After PDT, a small amount of activated substance remains in the skin for 24 to 48 hours. Sunlight and even indoor light may affect this and cause itching. Use of sunscreen and a hat may diminish these undesired effects.

What Should I Expect After My Photodynamic Therapy Treatment?

Most people experience mild burning or itching for about one hour after the skin care procedure, although this can last a day to two. Mild to moderate redness may be experienced for 24 to 48 hours. Only gently emollients should be applied to the skin.

Areas most likely to swell are around the eyes. This will subside within several hours. Application of ice or cold packs may help.

Peeling of treated skin may occur several days after the skin care procedure and can be alleviated by gentle washing and application of a slightly thicker moisturizer. Consult your doctor if any of these side effects seem severe or cause significant discomfort.

 Before & After

PDT before and after

PDT is not always covered by insurance. This procedure is available at our Med Center location and SW Memorial. If you would like to learn more about PDT, please call one of our specialists at a location near you.

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