Photodynamic Therapy Overview
At our San Diego cosmetic dermatology office, our doctors are well-experienced with photodynamic therapy (PDT) treatments. This treatment is also commonly referred to as “ALA or PDT treatment,” Levulan photofacial or photodynamic acne therapy. Prior to light treatment, we allow the topical photosensitizing agent to undergo an incubation time of one to three hours on the skin in order to provide the most effective results possible.
Our physicians have vast experience with PDT and have been involved in clinical research, published peer-reviewed journal articles and lectured on the topic worldwide. Furthermore, Dr. Goldman is the lead author and editor of the preeminent Photodynamic Therapy textbook, now in its second edition, which is used to teach physicians around the world about the advanced techniques we use to help our patients achieve maximum results.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) delivers amazing results and can treat the following conditions with minimal downtime and risk.
- Sebaceous gland hyperplasia
- Reduce or eliminates the use of oral antibiotics
- Eliminate concerns of antibiotic-resistant bacteria
- Sun damage
- Pre-cancerous lesions (actinic keratosis)
The treatment uses a specific wavelength of light to activate a topical photosensitizing agent called Levulan (5-aminolevulinic acid or ALA) or Metvixia (methyl aminolevulinate).
What to Expect
Photodynamic therapy in San Diego is for the treatment of acne and other skin diseases involve the use of photochemical reactions to photosensitizing agents, light, and oxygen. It involves three steps.
First, microdermabrasion is done and followed by the photo-sensitizer which is applied to the skin surface and taken up by the acne lesions. Then 4 specific wavelengths of lasers ( PDL, IPL, Blue Light and Red Light) are applied toward the acne lesions, activating the photosensitizer in the presence of oxygen.
Because the photo-sensitizer is preferentially absorbed by the acne lesions and the light source is directly targeted on the lesional tissue, PDT achieves dual selectivity, minimizing damage to adjacent healthy structures. It is mediated by oxygen-dependent photochemical reactions, resulting in the destruction of the acne lesion.
The purpose of this treatment is to initiate photochemical reactions, and not to heat or mechanically change tissue as seen in other dermatologic uses. Ultimately, Photodynamic Therapy is a very safe procedure that can provide patients with outstanding results with minimal downtime and risk. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov has more information on what Photodynamic Therapy can do.
Q: What is photodynamic therapy?
Q: Who is a good candidate for Photodynamic Therapy in San Diego?
Q: How many treatments will I need?
Q: Does PDT work for acne?
Q: How does it work for precancerous lesions?
Q: What are the advantages for treating skin pre-cancer?
Q: How much downtime should I expect after a treatment?
Q: What are the side effects?
Q: How much does it cost?
Q: What is levulan?
In addition to photodynamic therapy, we offer a wide range of laser treatments that are a good alternative for many skin conditions that we treat at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology.
Contact us today at for more information to schedule a consultation. We are located in the UTC area of San Diego, minutes from La Jolla, Del Mar, and Downtown San Diego.
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