Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
PDT involves light-sensitive medicine and a light source to destroy abnormal cells
Levulan is a 20% 5-aminolevulinic acid solution, a natural substance found in all humans.
When applied to the skin for an hour or more, Levulan starts converting to a powerful photo sensitizer called Protoporphyrin IX (PpIX). PpIX accumulates preferentially in fast growing cells such as precancerous cells, as well as the sebaceous glands where acne bacteria thrive, hence its success in treating both actinic keratoses and acne. The longer the application, the more PpIX is accumulated. When a sufficient concentration has been achieved, a light or laser beam activates it. This produces a salvo of oxygen singlets that not only destroy the precancerous cells and acne causing bacteria, but also shrink the size of the sebaceous glands.
PDT of any method always makes the skin highly photosensitive for the next 48 hours. This means: full continuous opaque sun protection of all treated areas and avoidance of light exposure for 2 days following your procedure.
PDT FOR ACTINIC KERATOSES
The advantages include: single treatment, high efficacy rate and less temporary disfigurement than Efudex and Aldara cream treatments. PDT is very helpful in those unwilling or unable to go through long topical treatments. Residual lesions may persist and require individual treatment with a cream.
PDT FOR ACNE
PDT works best in patients who have inflammatory acne , not just blackheads and whiteheads. As a matter of fact, a pustular follicular reaction to the treatments has been shown to lead to the most significant improvement.
A treatment course usually involves at least 3 sessions, a month apart. Occasional boosters are recommended to maintain improvement. About 60% of patients achieve near clearance after 3 treatments. 30% require 2 or 3 treatment courses.
PDT compares favorably with oral antibiotics.
PDT is safe, effective, has no systemic side effects and avoids problems with drug resistance.
Patients should not stop their creams. Studies have shown over and over that the combination of light and surface treatments generates superior results than either one alone. Topical retinoids especially will help maintain results and stimulate the pore lining not to plug up again.
OTHER USES FOR PDT
- PDT has repeatedly shown to boost the results of IPL photofacial rejuvenation.
- Extensive sebaceous hyperplasia.
- Reduction in pore size especially associated with rosacea.