Home / Blog
.

Photodynamic Therapy for Facial Rejuvenation and Skin Cancer Prevention

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 aminolevulinic acid (ALA, brand name Levulan™). When applied topically, it is selectively absorbed into rapidly growing photo-damaged skin cells, sebaceous (oil) glands, and hair follicles (pores). Application of blue light activates the ALA, destroying the target cells. The skin improves in both texture and tone. Patients with severely sun-damaged skin manifested by actinic keratoses (pre-cancers) and poor texture and tone may achieve excellent results.

To achieve maximum cosmetic 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 scalp, face, neck, chest, hands, arms, and legs may be treated.

The advantage of PDT is that it is a quicker treatment than using Efudex or Aldara. It has minimal side effects and provides rapid healing. There is a less scarring than with liquid nitrogen, and patients see improvements of the entire facial area treated, instead of just in spot areas.

The disadvantages of PDT are that the treated skin may appear red, with peeling for 2 to 7 days post-treatment. Some people 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, and everyone’s skin is different.

The ALA is converted by skin cells into protoporphyrin IX, a non-toxic substance that naturally occurs in your body. The light used to activate the protoporphyrin IX is either red light or blue light, part of the natural visible spectrum of sunlight, and it is not ultraviolet radiation. Sometimes we combine PDT with salicylic acid facial peels. Salicylic acid (aspirin) is a compound naturally found in the bark of the willow tree. These 2 treatments together are an excellent option for patients frustrated with traditional treatments or looking for a non-toxic alternative treatment for sun damage.

Frequently Asked Questions about Photodynamic Therapy

What is the process for PDT?

The skin in the area to be treated is cleansed and prepped. The ALA is applied and incubated for 15 minutes to 2 hours. The time is determined by the locations and skin conditions being treated.

Is the treatment painful?

The ALA may sting when applied, but the feeling quickly subsides. The actual light treatment feels very warm, as though you are lying in the sun. Patients with severe sun damage may experience a burning sensation during the treatment, but we will provide you with medication, if it is needed to make you comfortable.

What happens after the treatment?

After your treatment, you will be asked to remain totally out of the sun for the first 48 hours to prevent reactivation of the medication. You may experience a sunburn effect the first 2 days following application (redness and a warm feeling). 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 ALA at 2 to 4 week intervals. Your treatment schedule will be discussed with you, and it will depend on your individual needs.

Will my health insurance pay for PDT?

Insurance companies usually pay for treatment of precancerous lesions if it is medically necessary. They never pay for treatment of cosmetic sun damage. You can call your insurance company and ask them about your benefits. (A quick shortcut is to ask if they cover codes 96567 and and J7308 for acne or actinic keratoses.) Or you can call our office at 760.230.2537, and we will help you figure it out. We offer discounted prices on PDT for our patients who need to or want to pay out of pocket.

4 comments (Add your own)

1. Don Bartlett wrote:
What is the cost for a age penioner

Mon, November 17, 2014 @ 5:18 PM

2. seo wrote:
http://www.SEORankingLinks.com/seo plugin

Wed, April 15, 2015 @ 1:49 PM

3. seo wrote:
Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword....wait there's even more Now what if i told you there was a simple Wordpress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That's right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. Seo Plugin

Sat, May 2, 2015 @ 1:05 PM

4. Jayaraj Chanku wrote:
Excellent post, after this read I got a clear idea regarding PDT. Thanks for sharing.

Mon, April 2, 2018 @ 10:07 AM

Add a New Comment


code
 

Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.

© 2018 Dr Heidi Gilchrist MD - Encinitas Dermatologist All Rights Reserved.

Designed by Creatovision Design Group.