Photodynamic Therapy

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 wave lengths 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.


  • Destruction of Sun Damage such as Actinic Keratosis
  • Treatment of Resistant Acne
  • Treatment of Sebaceous Hyperplasia

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. Afterwards, cool gel packs are applied. Strict sun avoidance is necessary for the next 1-2 days.

Colorado Skin and Vein is one of the leading providers of photodynamic therapy in Denver, CO. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call our office at 303.683.3235 or request a consult online.


How is the procedure done?

A microdermabrasion is done to prepare the skin for the treatment, and then a clear solution of Levulan is applied to the skin. The solution is left on for 1-2 hours, during this time it enters damaged cells. After the incubation time, the solution is washed off and light is used to activate it. Afterwards, the face is cleaned and sunscreen is applied. The patient should not go in the sun for the next 24 hours.

What is Photodynamic Therapy used for?

  • Sun Spots
  • Actinic Keratosis
  • Acne
  • Sebaceous Hyperplasia

What is it?

Levulan, also known as 5-Amino-levulinic Acid (5-ALA), is a clear, topical solution that when applied to the skin can make damaged cells very photosensitive to certain wavelengths of light.

How many treatments will I need?

Aktinic Keratosis clearance is 87% after a single treatment and 92% after a second treatment. For acne, expect 2-3 treatments.

What you should know:

Your skin may be red and swollen for several days after the treatment. You should have absolutely no sun exposure for the 24-48 hours after your treatment.

Other Treatment Options:

Liquid nitrogen may be another option, but is only placed on areas that are obviously damaged. It may miss many precancerous lesions that are not obvious to the naked eye. Lesions turn black and take several weeks to heal. Liquid nitrogen also causes a significant amount of hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin).

Effudex is another option, and is a topical 5’Fluroquinolone. It is rubbed over the areas in question and causes them to become very red and irritated during the course of treatment, which lasts several weeks. Effudex must be applied daily and can become very uncomfortable.


Dr. Verebelyi is a member of ASLMS, ABVLM, AAFP and Mensa

Dr. Verebelyi is a nationally recognized authority on laser surgery. He is board certified by both the American Board of Family Practice and The American Board of Venous & Lymphatic Medicine. Dr. Verebelyi helped create the Fundamentals of Laser Surgery course given by American Society of Laser Medicine & Surgery (ASLMS) where he has worked as both a director and instructor. He is a Fellow at the ASLMS, member of the American College of Phlebology and a member of Mensa.

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