Photodynamic Therapy Overview
At our San Diego cosmetic dermatology office, our dermatologists 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 and only apply it after an acetone and/or microdermabrasion 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 (ie excess oil production)
- Sun damage
- Pre-cancerous lesions (actinic keratosis AKs)
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 (PDT) 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 and an aceton scrub is done. Once the skin is prepped the photo-sensitizer medicationn is applied to the skin surface. It specifically targets fast growing cells, such as pre-cancerous lesions, oil glands, and p. acnes bacteria that causes acne. Then 4 specific wavelengths of lasers ( PDL, IPL, Blue Light and Red Light) are applied which activate the medication!
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.
For acne patients, it can reduce or eliminate the need for oral antibiotics, thus eliminating concerns for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This treatment can even help avoid the need for Accutane!
We also provide a variety of top professional skincare lines you can use daily at home to support the results of your treatment. Stop by our office any time for recommendations on the best home treatment program for you.
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. Our sister practice West Dermatology next door can do more traditional treatments for pre-cancerous lesions such as topical Aldara or Efudex, cryotherapy (freezing lesions off), or surgical excision. For acne there are topical and oral prescription medications a medical dermatologist can prescribe.
Contact us today at for more information to schedule a PDT consultation. We are located in the UTC area of San Diego, minutes from La Jolla, Del Mar, and Downtown San Diego.
For more information about the monthly specials offered at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology, visit our Promotions page.
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