Photodynamic therapy is commonly used to treat pre-cancerous actinic keratosis and light therapy can be used to treat moderate to severe acne. Depending on the skin concern you are trying to treat, the treatment itself will vary, as will the recovery time. Always consult with a medical skincare professional to learn if photodynamic or light therapy are right for your unique skin concerns.


What is Photodynamic Therapy?

Photodynamic therapy, also known as PDT, is a non-invasive treatment that combines a photosensitizing agent with a particular wavelength of light (red or blue) to cause controlled injury to the skin and stimulate natural regeneration. Photodynamic therapy is often used to treat superficial pre-cancerous skin lesions, known as actinic keratosis.

Who is Photodynamic Therapy for?

If you are looking for solutions to problems like severe acne, light therapy will help kill acne-causing bacteria. Always consult your skincare professional to learn more about the best way to treat your specific skin concerns and learn if photodynamic therapy may be right for you.

How does Photodynamic Therapy work?

During a PDT treatment, you will be pre-treated with a photosensitizing agent that allows the light treatment to targets cells and causes controlled injury to the skin. This injury causes the skin cells to regenerate.

For acne, you will receive treatment with light only, no photosensitizing agent. The light helps to reduce and kill the acne-causing bacteria that lives on the skin and reduce the potential for acne breakouts.

What will I experience during Photodynamic Therapy?

A PDT treatment will vary from patient to patient depending on your specific skin concerns and needs. If you are receiving a treatment for acne, your treatment will be simpler and shorter than conditions such as actinic keratosis. Typically, you will be placed in front of a PDT light panel for about 15 minutes. Depending on the results you desire, you will likely have to repeat the treatment several times. The treatment usually does not hurt and there is little-to-no downtime. However, skin will be extremely sensitive to sunlight for about two days post treatment. Make sure to apply sunscreen immediately after and follow your physician’s instructions on what to do post treatment. Discuss with your skincare professional before receiving treatment to learn more about what to expect for your individual treatment plan.

If you are receiving treatment for actinic keratosis, your experience during and post treatment may vary significantly from what is mentioned above. If you are looking to receive PDT to help with actinic keratosis, consult with your skincare professional to learn more about what to expect.

When should I get Photodynamic Therapy?

Due to the nature of the treatment, your skin will be extremely sensitive post treatment. Make sure to coordinate an appropriate time with your skincare professional to schedule your treatments so that you are able to stay out of the sun for at least 48 hours after your treatment.

Where should I get Photodynamic Therapy?

Photodynamic therapy should only be administered by a board-certified dermatologist or a medical aesthetician working under professional supervision. The laws of some states may require the physician themselves to perform the procedure. Always consult with your skincare professional before receiving treatment.

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It is recommended to incorporate an at-home skincare regimen after photodynamic therapy. Always consult with your physician for individual at-home advice.