Photodynamic Therapy [PDT]

Photodynamic Therapy [PDT]

PDT is Photodynamic Therapy. It is a non-surgical procedure performed by one of our medical staff at Face Today Medi-Clinic. PDT involves simple preparation of the lesions, application of special light activated cream and exposure of the lesion to a special red light or in some cases exposure to daylight. It is approved for the treatment of superficial or nodular BCC, Bowen’s disease and AK. Common side effects include mild to moderate redness and swelling which often resolve rapidly. Due to the selective nature of PDT treatment, healthy tissue is left unharmed and scarring is minimal.

Though there are obvious cosmetic benefits to the use of Photodynamic therapy, this treatment also holds long term health benefits. The treatment is predominantly used to deal with solar damage. Aside from the decidedly unappealing look of the blotchy, white and dark areas that are found after ling-term damage to the arms, legs, torso and the face, these “sun-spots” can manifest into more dangerous conditions.

There are currently many practitioners world-wide that encourage the use of PDT not only as a cosmetic procedure, but as an annual preventative measure to treat and inhibit further sun-damage or acne.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many treatments are needed?

Results can be seen after two to three treatments. Occasionally more treatments are required. After being treated, the skin will look irritated, reddened and will peel. This usually resolves in 5 days, however it may last 7-10 days. It is extremely important to stay out of the sun for forty-eight hours after treatment. Exposure can result in burning and redness. Even a sunscreen will not protect against the photosensitivity of the skin at this stage.

Is this treatment safe?

Photodynamic therapy is safe for all skin colours and types and is effective at all ages. These skin lesions are often treated with dry ice or surgical removal, leaving nasty reddened scars. Severe acne can also leave disfiguring scars all over the face and body. The amazing thing about Photodynamic therapy is that there is no scarring once the skin heals, leaving it looking smooth and healthy.

PDT – why is it a great option?
  • Healing is usually rapid, as there is relatively small damage to healthy cells.
  • It provides an excellent cosmetic result.
  • Scarring has not been reported.
  • There is no systemic reaction.
  • The treatment is able to be customized to your individual needs (especially cost vs downtime)
  • Can be repeated if needed.
  • Does not prevent you from undergoing any other cosmetic procedures in the future.
PDT can be used to treat a range of conditions as outlined below
  • Non – Hyperkeratotic Keratoses
  • Seborrheic Keratoses
  • Cystic acne, acne vulgaris and generally oily skin
  • Rosascea
  • Psoriasis
  • Hypertropic Lesions
  • Sebaceous gland hyperplasia
  • Warts
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Large Pores
  • Fine Lines
Photodynamic Therapy for Acne

The cause of acne is quite simple. The principle cause is the obstruction of the opening of a pore (hair follicle) by dead skin cells and oil from overactive oil glands. This obstruction can lead to infection. Previously, the only way to treat infection in acne was antibiotics, either topically or orally administered. 
There is a new, simple treatment for acne called Photodynamic therapy. This treatment originated in America and is also used to treat sun damage. The treatment works by applying a lotion called Amino Levulinic Acid, a light sensitising agent, which is then activated using a technology called Continuous light and can also include Intense Pulse Llight which reduces any pigmentation and redness in the skin. It is expected that this treatment will improve moderate to severe infective acne.

Photodynamic Therapy involves three mechanisms of treating acne; this is the reason why it is so effective. Firstly, it exfoliates the skin with Microdermabrasion to unblock the pores. The ALA is then applied and left on under an occlusive dressing for 2 to 3 hours. Light will then activate the ALA and these treatments work to destroy the most common bacteria involved in acne. The third and most exciting mechanism of action is that it reduces oil production in the over-active sebaceous glands. This is the effect that provides long-lasting results for acne sufferers, including those with severe or cystic acne. This treatment is particularly exciting for people who have tried multiple other acne treatments, including medication and have not had a desirable result or cure. It is also a safe alternative to Roaccutane treatment for people with severe acne.

Most people find the Microdermabrasion and application of ALA quite comfortable. The Continuous Light will cause a hot, stinging sensation in the skin. Your skin will be red following the treatment and may gently peel or swell. You will be required to stay out of the sun or bright light for 48 hours following treatment as your skin will be very light sensitive. Most people stay indoors at home for 2 days as any discomfort felt will be caused by light exposure during this time. There may be some residual redness for one week and the skin will flake or peel for 3 days. Most people will have two to three treatments, but this will be decided at your consultation at Face Today Medi-clinics.

Photodynamic Therapy for Sun Damaged Skin

Photo Dynamic Therapy is a unique treatment for unhealthy sun damaged skin on the face and body. This treatment is particularly suited to those with roughened sunspots and pre-cancerous lesions on the skin. Exciting results have also been achieved for those suffering from severe types of acne. This is a new, safe technique that has changed the way Doctors treat disfiguring skin conditions producing clear healthy skin.

Amino Levulinic Acid (ALA) is applied as a lotion for two to four hours all over the face, spot areas and/or other areas of the body.
It specifically targets sun damaged or unhealthy skin cells and is not absorbed into normal, healthy skin cells. The active ingredient is absorbed into the damaged skin cells and the cells become extremely light sensitive. The ALA is then activated by Continuous Light and / or IPL, which produces free radical molecules that destroy only the pre-cancerous and unhealthy cells. Large areas can be treated quickly and effectively with long lasting results.

If the skin is also pigmented, it may be beneficial to do a full face IPL treatment. This will even out the skin colour, tone and texture and reduce the appearance of blood vessels, freckles, sun spots and pigmentation.

What does it feel like?

There is some discomfort at the Continuous Light stage of the procedure. After the treatment, your skin will be very red and will feel hot and slightly itchy. You will be extremely sun sensitive and must not go out in the sun at all for 48 hours, even with sun protection. Most people stay home and watch movies and relax for 48 hours.

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