Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a non-invasive procedure used to treat skin conditions. It uses a combination of photosensitizing drugs with light therapy to target damaged skin cells. For those with facial skin conditions such as acne and rosacea, PDT is a less aggressive treatment that allows for consecutive treatments (i.e., no long breaks between treatments) and allows the patient to conduct normal activities immediately. PDT also is beneficial for people whose bodies have developed a resistance to standard treatments such as antibiotics or over-the-counter products.
ThePhotodynamic Therapy treatment includes applying the topical solution in the Levulan Kerastik to the affected area and allowing it to absorb into the skin cells for the recommended time. Then the technician will apply BLU-U light to the treated area. BLU-U light was designed to combat dermatological conditions such as acne, rosacea and even pre-cancerous skin cells.
The benefits to having the Photodynamic Therapy treatment include:
- Less damaging. The procedure specifically targets the affected cells, leaving the surrounding areas free from damage associated with some treatments. Age spots, rosacea and acne respond well to this targeted treatment method, and the patient is able to resume normal activities in much less time than the more aggressive treatments.
- Antibiotic alternative. The body is able to adjust and eventually resist modern antibiotics, and this causes chronic conditions like acne and rosacea to return. PDT’s targeted method removes the ability for the skin to develop resistance, making it a more durable treatment alternative.
- Reduced risk. The American Cancer Society states that PDT is useful in combating skin cancer in patients. While there are limitations to that statement, effectively treating precancerous areas can save you the pain and fear later.
- Convenience. Unlike other treatments, PDT can be done without anesthesia or other sedatives. This allows less time and coordination of services between the treating technician and an anesthesiologist. It also reduces the stress on the patient and the patient’s body as well as the patient’s pocketbook.
- Uniform complexion. Blotchiness or uneven skin tone can be caused by sun damage, smoking, acne or conditions like rosacea. Targeting the area on a cellular level creates a more even skin tone as the cells return to a more natural state.
PDT treatment can cause photosensitivity in patients, but proper after-treatment precautions will prevent sun or light damage to the treated areas. It is recommended that patients use high SPF sun block whenever they leave the house for at least 48 hours after treatment. Stinging or a burning sensation can result after the treatment but usually resolves within 24 hours. Redness and peeling also may occur after the treatment and can last up to four weeks after treatment.
For those with more complex or severe conditions, Photodynamic Therapy can be combined with other treatments and therapies. The amount of PDT or other treatments varies on the condition and severity. It is important to consult a professional who specializes in PDT and other treatments to ensure PDT is the appropriate treatment.