Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a multi-use light activated system for destroying abnormal cells (pre-cancers such as Actinic Keratoses) and also for addressing overactive sebaceous glands, which are a root cause of acne.
Treating Pre-Cancers with PDT
To start, we apply a topical photosensitizing solution to the affected area about one hour prior to treatment. Unhealthy skin cells absorb the topical photosensitizer, while healthy ones do not. Next, we apply the light which activates the topical medication, killing the damaged cells - both the visible ones and those that are microscopic and not yet visible.
You can expect mild discomfort (stinging sensation) when the photosensitizing solution is applied and during the light treatment. After the treatment, your skin will appear red like a sunburn and may be swollen (for 2-5 days). You will need to strictly stay out of the sun for 48-72 hours. On day 3 the skin may feel tight and possibly peel. Once the treatment area has healed, it is re-examined one month later to see if any additional treatments are necessary.
Treating Acne with PDT
To start we may apply a topical photosensitizing solution to the affected area about one hour prior to treatment, but often the photosensitizer is not necessary. Blue and red LED light is applied to the affected area to destroy acne cells, shrink the sebaceous glands which are producing the excess oil, destroy p. acnes bacteria, and reduce inflammation. A treatment plan will be customized based on your individual needs, typically patients need 3-6 treatments at 2-4 week intervals.
You can expect mild discomfort (stinging sensation) when the photosensitizing solution is applied and during the light treatment. After the treatment your skin may appear red. You will need to stay out of the sun for 48 hours after treatment.