Helton Skin and Laser Institute - Newport Beach, CA

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PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY (PDT)

Photodynamic Therapy - A NEW APPROACH TO LASER TREATMENTS.

What is Photodynamic Therapy?
Photodynamic Therapy(PDT) is the newest most exciting trend in laser light applications for photo aging, acne and precancerous actinic keratoses. It involves placing a liquid photosensitizer on the site to be treated and then irradiating that area with specialized wavelengths of light to achieve a desired result. What this means is we paint the skin with an invisible colored solution called ALA (alpha levulonic acid) that soaks into the skin. This chemical has a special affinity for pre-skin cancers and oil glands. The skin will metabolize it into a special invisible color called a porphyrin. The laser light sees this porphyrin color as purple and super heats it. The result is shrinkage of oil glands and destruction of precancerous cells. What the patient experiences is a mild tingling during the treatment. The next few days feel like a sunburn as the old cells are shed off. Many patients compare it to a mild to moderate chemical peel.  What is most important is that after having the ALA applied that the patient AVOIDS DIRECT SUNLIGHT FOR 36 HOURS, this includes car windows. This is because sunlight contains the spectrum of light that can unpredictably activate the chemical and result in a much deeper peel than was expected.

Treating photoaging and pre-skin cancers with Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT)
What this means is that we can get the results of about 2 1/2 IPL treatments with only one application and get rid of precancerous cells often before they become apparent. The down time is a little longer than for a typical IPL treatment but the results are phenomenal!  The pores become finer, spots flake off and the result is a subtle air brushed look that your friends and family will compliment you on.

How much improvement can I expect?
Patients with severe sun damaged skin manifested by actinic keratosis, texture, and tone changes including mottled pigmentation and skin laxity may see excellent results. You may also see improvements of large pores and pitted acne scars. Active acne can improve dramatically.

How many treatments will it take to see the best results?
To achieve maximum improvement of pre-cancerous (actinic keratoses) sun damage, skin tone and texture, a series of three treatments 2-4 weeks apart is the most effective. Some patients with only actinic keratoses are happy with just one treatment. More treatments can be done at periodic intervals in the future to maintain the rejuvenated appearance of the skin.

PDT as acne treatment
With PDT you can get the results from 5 clearlight treatments in one session. Typically 2 treatments 4 weeks apart are sufficient to erradicate 70-90% of the acne lesions for a 6-12 month duration. For many people this can be the mean having to avoid oral antibiotics or even accutane.

There are several different presentations of acne ranging from comedonal (blackheads and whiteheads), popular, pustular, and cystic acne. In many cases, many of these presentations of acne can be present on an individual simultaneously.

Prior to photodynamic Acne Treatment, the best available treatment option for cystic acne was Accutane. However, with Accutane there are many systemic side effects including birth defects, liver abnormalities, mood depression, and virtually all patients get dryness. PDT Acne Treatment provides a viable alternative for all types of acne treatment.

Photodynamic Acne Treatment is done as follows:
The ALA, which is a clear painless solution, is applied to your skin and left on for 15-60 minutes. It is then activated with a specific wavelength of light called BLU-U or Clear-Light. This takes about 8-10 minutes. The Levulan targets active cells like acne sebaceous glands. These cells preferentially absorb ALA, and are targeted by the ALA once it is activated; hence the term, photodynamic therapy. The ALA will also target sebaceous hyperplasia (which are those small (1-3mm), benign, bumps on your skin) and the papules of acne rosacea. Skin oiliness is decreased, and the appearance of pores is minimized. The entire skin texture improves following a Photodynamic Acne Treatment.

The downside of Photodynamic treatment is that you will be red and have some skin peeling for several days after the treatment. Usually, the first 1-2 days are the worst. You must remain indoors the day following your treatment to avoid sun exposure, as you are photosensitive for about 24 hours after PDT.

The advantages of PDT are rapid treatment of acne lesions all over the face without scarring or surgical excision. The skin appears refreshed and younger following these treatments. We advise 2-3 treatments at 2 to 3 week intervals to obtain optimal results. There are no systemic side effects.

Intense Pulsed Light and PDT
Photodynamic therapy can be combined with our regular Photorejuvenation treatments using IPL, which targets redness and brown spots, as well as stimulates formation of more collagen in the skin. There is normally no downtime for IPL treatments without Levulan. However, one can enhance andboost the IPL photorejuvenation results by adding Levulan to the treatment process.

AminoLevulinic Acid (ALA) is trademarked by Dusa Pharmaceuticals as Levulan® for this use.

 

Helton Skin & Laser Institute | Peter Helton, D.O.
1901 Westcliff Dr, Suite 2 | Newport Beach, CA 92660 | 949.646.DERM (3376)