This form of treatment used in many fields. Basically is involves exposure of the target tissue to a light-sensitizing drug and subsequent exposure of that tissue to light or laser. The desired outcome is generally destruction or shrinkage of the target tissue.
In dermatology Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) has two main applications: treatment of actinic keratosis (precursors to skin cancer ) and acne.
In treating actinic keratosis, delta-amino levlunic acid (trade name Levulan) is applied over the sun damaged skin; generally face, chest or hands. It is allowed to “incubate” or remain on the skin for between one and three hours. It is absorbed by the rapidly dividing cells of actinic keratoses. It is then thoroughly washed off and the skin exposed to a light source, generally a blue light emitting diode. For two days after treatment it is important to avid additional light exposure. Over the ensuing 24 go 48 hours the treated skin becomes red and peels. Over the next week or two the inflammation subsides and the treated skin is much smoother, showing far fewer actinic keratosis.
In treating acne the drug, Levulan, is applied all over the face. It is preferentially absorbed by the sebaceous glands which start the acne process. After the prescribed period of time the drug is removed and the face exposed to the light source. As in all photosensitization procedure it is important guard against additional light exposure for 48 hour. After treatment redness and inflammation can develop but is not necessary for effective treatment. Man people find that over the ensuing weeks oiliness is markedly decreased and counts of acne lesions are also significantly reduced.
There are many protocols for doing photodynamic therapy. Here at Foxhall we have significant experience using this treatment for both conditions. Schedule a consult to see if this treatment may be the right one for you.