Photodynamic therapy works to treat damaged or problem cells. This can include treatment-resistant acne, sun damage, or precancerous spots.
This treatment uses a light-sensitizing chemical that makes damaged cells sensitive to light. When exposed to light therapy, only the damaged cells that absorbed the chemical will be affected. This makes photodynamic therapy an effective way to target specific types of cellular damage.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) involves the use of a topical chemical, Levulan, combined with light. The topical Levulan is used to make the damaged cells very sensitive to certain wavelengths of light. PDT can be used to get rid of sun-damaged and specifically precancerous lesions such as actinic keratosis.
In side-by-side studies, Levulan was found to be just as effective as liquid nitrogen. Unlike liquid nitrogen, Levulan does not cause hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin). Also, it is not a spot treatment like liquid nitrogen. Since it is applied over an entire area of skin, even hidden lesions will be treated. This technique can also be used to improve acne that has not responded to traditional treatments.
Before the treatment, the area will be treated with a microdermabrasion to help remove any dead layers of skin that will keep the Levulan from penetrating. Next, the Levulan will be applied and allowed to incubate for approximately 2-3 hours. After the incubation, the Levulan is washed off and the skin is treated with either an IPL or Pulsed Dye Laser to activate the absorbed medication. Afterward, cool gel packs are applied. Strict sun avoidance is necessary for the next 1-2 days.
*Individual results may vary.
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