Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) describes a procedure in which a topical solution called aminolevulinic acid (Levulan® Kerastick) is applied to the skin and is later activated by a light source in the presence of oxygen to preferentially target abnormal cells. PDT is FDA-approved for the treatment of precancerous lesions called actinic keratoses (AKs).
Light Sources used in PDT
Most often a blue light source is used to activate the levulan reaction. However, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can also promote a proper response.
Although PDT is FDA-approved for the clearance of AKs, photodynamic therapy can be used to effectively treat other skin conditions. PDT not only targets precancerous cells, but also melanin (brown spots), blood vessels (telangiectasias), and oil glands. Medical literature supports the role of PDT in treating photodamage, rosacea, acne, sebaceous hyperplasia (enlarged oil glands), and sun spots.
Recovery Time with PDT & Comfort during PDT
Photodynamic therapy has associated downtime. Patients must remain indoors away from sun exposure and bright light sources for 48 hours following the procedure. The skin may peel or be red for approximately 5-7 days, especially when multiple light sources are used during PDT.
PDT of the Face and Body
PDT can be used to treat precancerous spots and sun damage on many areas of the body including the face, scalp, chest, arms, and even legs. Although a single PDT treatment may yield excellent results, PDT is best completed as a series of treatments.