La Jolla, California
Effective and beautifying skin rejuvenation for rosacea, sun damage, age spots, actinic keratoses (AKs) and acne. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) greatly improves sun-damaged skin, fine lines, blotchy pigmentation and rough skin patches. PDT even has the unique ability to minimize pores and reduce oil glands. The therapy involves an application of a topical photosensitizing agent called Levulan. Levulan is a substance that is naturally occurring in the body. When applied topically, it is selectively absorbed into rapidly growing photo damaged skin, sebaceous glands, hair follicles and actinic keratoses (AKs). Using light from either our IPL or BLU-U light sources converts the Levulan into a photosensitizing agent, and it destroys the target cells. The skin improves in both texture and tone. If you have large pores of active acne, you’ll see amazing results.
The preparation of the skin, incubation time, wavelength and light source used to activate the medication is dependant upon the area of the body being treated, as well as the condition. Topical Levulan enhances the efficacy of the PDT treatments for facial photo aging, and often results in decreasing the number of treatments needed for optimal results. Patients with severe sun-damaged skin manifested by actinic keratoses, texture and tone changes may achieve excellent results. To achieve maximum improvement, a series of three treatments at 2 to 4 week intervals are most effective. Some patients with actinic keratoses will achieve results in only one treatment. More treatments may be done in the future, as necessary, to maintain the results of the newly rejuvenated skin.
The disadvantages of PDT are that the treated skin may appear red, with peeling for 2 to 7 days post-treatment. Some may experience swelling especially around the lip and/or eye areas. Pigmented lesions will temporarily darken and peel off, leaving a normal appearance to the skin. Repeat treatments may be necessary, as this is not an exact science.
The advantages of PDT are that it is an easier treatment than using liquid nitrogen, 5-FU, or Aldara. It has minimal side effects and provides rapid healing. There is a reduction in scarring, and patients see improvements of the entire facial area treated, instead of just in spot areas.
Photodynamic Common Questions
What is Photodynamic therapy?
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a treatment modality that uses a photosensitizing drug called Levulan. Which when applied to the skin and exposed to an IPL or BLU-U light source, selectively removes damaged skin cells. In dermatology, PDT has been successful in removing actinic keratoses (solar damaged skin cells) and basal cell carcinoma. This had led to an interest in treating acne, premalignant lesions, rosacea, sebaceous hyperplasia and pigmentation.
What is the process for PDT?
The skin in the area to be treated is cleansed and prepped with a microdermabrasion treatment or an acetone scrub. The Levulan is applied and incubated for 30 to 120 minutes. The time is determined by the areas and skin conditions being treated.
Is the treatment painful?
The Levulan stings when applied but quickly subsides. You will be asked to remain totally out of the sun for the first 48 hours to prevent reactivation of the Levulan. You may experience a sunburn effect the first 2 days following application. Beginning day 3 your skin may feel tight and begin to peel.
How many treatments will I need?
It is recommended that you receive 1 to 3 treatments with the Levulan at 2 to 4 week intervals. Your treatment schedule will be discussed with you.
What are the advantages of PDT?
For the treatment of rosacea:
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition which causes facial redness and facial flushing. Some patients also experience acne rosacea which appears, visually, almost identical to acne. But the causes and the treatment paths are not the same. Rosacea is a very common skin condition that is typically controlled and managed instead of cured.
For treatment of actinic keratoses:
Actinic keratoses (AKs) are dry, scaly, rough-textured patches or lesions that form on the outermost layer of the skin after years of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, such as sunlight. These lesions typically range in color from skin-toned to reddish brown and in size, from that of a pinhead to larger than a quarter.
PDT treatment for AKs is easier than liquid nitrogen, 5-FU, or Aldera because it is virtually painless, and the side effects are minimal with quick recovery time. The scarring is reduced and the cosmetic outcome is improved. With PDT the entire area is treated instead of spot treatments resulting in the clearance of subclinical lesions. It has both medical and cosmetic benefits.
PDT comes to the rescue when many other treatments have failed or have not offered substantial improvement. The therapy may be used in conjunction with RX medication but does not depend on these to get the job done.PDT kills the acne bacteria, as well as reduces the size and activity of the sebaceous glands that are a main factor in acne. PDT helps restore the skin’s integrity resulting in the overall improvement of the acne condition.
For Photo rejuvenation:
One Photo rejuvenation treatment with PDT is equivalent to 3 to 5 treatments without Levulan. You can remove precancerous cells, which ordinary photo rejuvenation treatments will not do. You can also reduce the oiliness of the sebaceous skin and reduce sebaceous hyperplasia.
Interested in PDT? If you live in California, please contact La Jolla Cosmetic Laser Clinic today to schedule an initial appointment.