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Photo Dynamic Therapy


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What is Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)?

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is FDA approved a non-invasive and the most recent advanced technology in treating moderate to severe cystic acne. It utilizes a topical photosensitizing agent called aminolevulinic acid(ALA) activated with the wavelength of light ranges of 400-980nm.

PDT treatment has the unique ability to minimize pores and reduce oil glands, effectively treating stubborn acne vulgaris, acne rosacea, and improve the appearance of some acne scars. PDT treatment also removes sun damaged pre-cancerous zones and spots called actinic keratosis. Sun damage, fine lines, and blotchy pigmentation can be also improved because of the positive effect of photosensitizing agent, ALA and the light treatment.
Now patients can avoid the mood depression, birth defects, dryness, and other harsh side effects that result in taking systematic oral drugs like Accutane® for acne.

How does Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) works?

Drug Application & Conversion
Photosensitizing agent called aminolevulinic acid(ALA) applied to target organ - e.g. as a solution is applied to skin absorbed preferentially by diseased cells, the molecules are turned into protoporphyrin a natural photosensitizer, over a period of time.

Light Exposure
In PDT, exposure to visable light (blue-red) of high intensity energizes PpIX producing singlet oxygen which causes cell membrane damage. In PDT, low intensity blue light makes target cells fluoresce, or glow, for cancer detection.

Cell Injury or Destruction
In PDT, diseased target cells are killed or injured, with minimal damage to normal tissues.


Types of Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

There are several different kinds of Photodynamic Therapies (PDT) depending on the types of photosensitizing agents and dosage of photosensitizing agents in the medication. The most popular photosensitizing agent for PDT is aminolevulinic acid (ALA) which is well known for very effective and stabilizing results associated with light therapy. Aminolevulinic acid is a naturally occurring, photosensitizing substance that is found in the body.  Other photosensitizing agents such as Indocyanine Green (ICG) can also be used in PDT.

Most individuals see dramatic improvement in skin tone and texture after just one Photodynamic Therapy; however the number of treatments will be determined by the condition and area being treated.


Cool PDT
Cool PDT is gentle yet very effective PDT method without downtime and side effects. In Cool PDT, 13% of aminolevulinic acid(ALA) is used. This program can be applied for moderate inflammatory acne and it effectively controls the inflammatory reaction. Active acne improves dramatically with completed program and enlarged pore sizes also will be improved as oil glands activities become inactive.  

Downtime after Cool PDT program is none to minimal. Patient may experience some redness after the treatment but it will dissipate within a couple of hours. From the evening of treatment day, you can wash your face and can put make up on. Patient does not have to avoid direct sun exposure as long as proper sun protection is administered. About 5 treatments with every 1 week to 2 weeks intervals are required for the optimum result.


Levulan PDT

Levulan PDT is a strong and powerful treatment method as the treatment results can be shown within one week after only one treatment. With 3-4weeks interval, 3 treatments are sufficient enough for a complete resolution of inflammatory acne.

In Levulan PDT, 20% of aminolevulinic acid(ALA) is used.  It can be applied for moderate to severe inflammatory acne.  Patients with severe sun damaged skin manifested by actinic keratosis, texture, and tone changes including mottled pigmentation and skin laxity may see excellent results. You may also see improvement of large pores and pitted acne scars. Active acne can improve dramatically.
However as much as it is powerfully effective, there is downtime after Levulan PDT. Following Levulan PDT, the treated areas can appear red with some peeling for 2-7 days. Some patients have an exuberant response to Levulan PDT, and experience marked redness of their skin. Temporary swelling of the lips and around your eyes can occur for a few days. Darker pigmented patches called liver spots can become temporarily darker and then peel off leaving normal skin. (This usually occurs over seven to ten days.) Also it is recommended that direct exposure to the sun be avoided for 48 hours due to increased photosensitivity resulting hyperpigmentation.


Natural PDT

Natural PDT can reduce sebaceous gland activity with a light source without a photosensitizing agent. Our advanced  elōs™ Acne Treatment  often called Natural PDT is proven, effective, gentle acne treatment that is the first and only technology that uses elōs™ technology, combination of bi-polar radio frequency (RF) and light energies to effectively and gently resolve active acne by treating it at its source.
The spectrum of light used is 400-980nm because short wavelengths in the blue light spectrum target P.Acnes in the skin. The photo-dynamic reaction between the blue light and the photoporphyrins (light sensitive molecules) results in oxidation and free radical environment, reducing bacterial count and stopping the inflammatory process within the sebaceous gland even without photosensitizing agent . The radio-frequency also has a thermal effect on the sebaceous gland since it is conducted through the tissue and generates selective heating to target tissue where the impedance is lower (pre heated sebaceous gland from light absorption). The addition of radio frequency in the elōs™ Acne Treatment  system also gives the unique advantage of improving the texture of acneic kin (which is often left blotchy and rough after acne eruptions).
In another word, the combined bi-polar radio frequency and blue light energies of elos™  technology penetrate the skin to precisely target and destroy active acne-causing bacteria, while also slowing excessive sebaceous oil production. Treatment helps in reducing active acne and speeds up healing time of existing acne.


Benefits of Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

The PDT treatment at our clinic is painless and improves the whole facial area treated creating all one color, texture, and tone rather than just spot treating with liquid nitrogen, cautery and surgery. In summery, PDT has many advantages such as;

  • essentially painless
  • the side effects are minimal
  • rapid healing
  • fast result (only few treatments required)
  • non-invasive (no needles or surgery required)
  • excellent cosmetic outcome (particularly in cosmetic sensitive areas of the face)


Treated Condition with Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
The Photodynamic Therapy offers significant improvement in the treatment of certain types of skin conditions such as:

  • Active Acne
  • Acne Rosacea
  • Actinic Keratosis
  • Moderate to Severe Cystic Acne
  • Sebaceous Hyperplasia
  • Skin Tone and Texture
  • Enlarged Pores
  • Oil Production



      *Disclaimer: May not be available depending on practitioners availability.Call for more information. TEL: 703-914-4663