What Are the Benefits of Photodynamic Therapy?
How does Photodynamic therapy (PDT) work?
When Levulan is applied to the skin, it is converted to a natural and potent photosensitizer. Illumination with a high intensity light or a laser causes an oxidation reaction in the treated skin resulting in destruction of the target. Precancerous lesions and pilosebaceous units (hair follicles and oil glands) preferentially absorb Levulan, which results in targeted therapy with minimal damage to surrounding tissue.
What types of conditions can be treated with PDT?
Photodynamic therapy has been shown to be effective in the treatment of pre-cancerous lesions (actinic keratoses), photodamaged skin (solar lentigines or age spots), acne, sebaceous hyperplasia, and a number of other skin conditions.
How does PDT treat acne?
Photodynamic therapy improves acne by decreasing the bacteria on the skin and shrinking the oil-producing glands.
Is PDT uncomfortable?
Some patients experience mild stinging upon application of the Levulan and during the light or laser treatment. Most patients experience no discomfort.
Levulan is a light-activated compound, rendering the skin more sensitive to ultraviolet light. It is extremely important that ALL sun exposure be avoided for 24-36 hours after treatment. Because it is possible for enough sun to penetrate windows to produce a sunburn, regular use of sunscreen with zinc or titanium oxide is mandatory.
Mild itching or burning of the skin can occur in the first 30 to 60 minutes following the procedure and over the week.
Moderate redness may be experienced for seven days following the procedure. Nothing should be applied to the treated skin that is not approved by Dr. Waibel. Even skin products that have been used in the past can irritate the skin if applied within the week after treatment.
Areas most likely to swell are around the eyes. Application of ice or cold gel packs and ingestion of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as Advil, Aleve, Motrin, may minimize swelling and are strongly recommended.
Peeling of the treated skin could occur several days following the procedure and can be alleviated with the application of a thick, fragrance-free moisturizer. There may be other (yet unknown) side effects that could occur with treatment.
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