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Medical & Surgical Dermatology

Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT)
Photodynamic therapy combines the use of a topical agent known as aminolevulinic acid (ALA) and light energy to take skin rejuvenation to a new level. What does it treat? PDT can be used to treat severely sun damaged skin (redness, brown spots or mottled pigmentation), precancerous lesions (AKs), acne, oily skin, large pores, rosacea, and even some superficial skin cancers. How does it work? When applied to the skin, the photosensitizing chemical ALA is preferentially absorbed into the target areas and is activated by the light source. A few days after the treatment, the areas of sun damage lift to the surface and flake off. Best of all and unlike a chemical peel, only the areas of damage slough off. It targets broken facial veins and flushing in the same manner, targeting only the areas of redness without causing damage to the surrounding normal skin. It is a way to selectively target abnormal cells and leave the good ones alone. How many treatments are needed? Most patients require two to three treatments separated about four weeks apart. What results can I expect? You will notice improvement in your skin texture and tone. There will be a decrease in redness, flushing and broken capillaries. Sunspots will fade, pores will tighten, acne should resolve and fine lines may soften. What are the side effects of PDT? Patients are very photosensitive and must be very cautious about staying out of the sun and any direct, intense light for 24 – 48 hours after the treatment. Some may develop redness, swelling, or crusting of target areas which typically resolves within about two weeks. On rare occasions, patients may have more exuberant swelling, redness, blistering, bruising or burning.