Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an effective treatment for both sun damaged skin and acne. It can help reduce pre-cancerous skin lesions (actinic keratoses) and render the skin much smoother, clearer and brighter.
It is a good option for those with acne who cannot or do not want to treat their breakouts with oral medications such as Accutane. During the treatment a topical medicine compound called Levulan®
is applied to the skin and activated by a specific light source which kills the p. acnes bacteria. Redness and scarring can also be improved. Usually three treatments are needed, spaced approximately one month apart.
Photodynamic therapy is also very effective in helping to reduce actinic keratoses that might not be visible to the naked eye. Traditional treatments to treat actinic keratoses involve ‘spot treatments’, where the lesion is treated with liquid nitrogen or with topical creams. This method can leave the skin with white spots where the lesion once was. PDT reduces this risk as the whole face is treated rendering it smoother and clearer. One to three treatments are recommended, spaced approximately four weeks apart.
What areas can you treat?
The face is most common, however, the back, chest, hands and any area affected by acne or actinic keratoses can be treated.
How long does a treatment take?
The procedure takes about an hour and a half. The Levulan®
is applied to the skin for one hour and then it is activated with the IPL light source.
What will I look like after the treatment?
The skin will develop a ‘flushed’ or sun burned look for 3-5 days. You will be advised to stay ‘indoors’ for the first 24 hours to avoid ultraviolet exposure from the sun.
When can I expect to see results?
Most patients begin to see a clearance of acne lesions or actinic keratoses within a week or so. Results will continue to improve over the next several weeks.
How long will results last?
Results are generally long term, however, maintenance treatments are recommended. These will be individualized according to your needs.