PhotoDymanic Therapy for Acne

What is PhotoDynamic Therapy?

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a medical treatment performed with a topical photosensitizing agent called Levulan (5-aminolevulinic acid or ALA) activated with the correct wavelength of light. These treatments remove sun damaged pre-cancerous zones and spots called actinic keratoses.

How many treatments will it take to see the "best" results?

To achieve maximum improvement of pre-cancerous (actinic keratoses) sun damage, a series of 2-3 treatments 8 weeks apart is most effective.

What are the disadvantages?

Following PDT, the treated areas can appear red and swollen with some peeling for 2-7 days. Some patients have an exuberant response to PDT, and experience marked redness of their skin. Temporary swelling of the lips and tissue 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).

ALA (Levulan) is active for 48 hours so you must stay inside for two days following treatment. This is an important consideration in scheduling your treatment.

What are the advantages?

  • Easier for patients than repeated topical liquid nitrogen, Efudex (5-FU), or Aldara because the side effects are minimal and there is rapid healing.
  • The ALA/PDT treatment is relatively painless versus liquid nitrogen, Efudex and Aldara.
  • Reduced scarring and improved cosmetic outcome compared with cautery, surgery and Efudex.
  • Liquid nitrogen can leave white spots on skin.
  • Levulan improves your whole facial area treated, creating one color, texture and tone rather than just spot treating with liquid nitrogen, cautery and surgery.