Commonly used to treat pre-cancerous actinic keratosis, photodynamic therapy can also be used to treat moderate to severe acne, visible signs of sun damage, and reduce redness from rosacea. 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 therapy is right for your unique skin concerns.
Photodynamic therapy, also known as PDT, is a non-invasive treatment that combines a photosensitizing agent with a particular wavelength of light (red, blue, etc.) to cause controlled injury to the skin and stimulate natural regeneration. Photodynamic therapy is often used to treat severe acne, visible signs of sun damage, rosacea, and is now a common first choice in treating superficial pre-cancerous skin lesions, known as actinic keratosis.
Photodynamic therapy can provide more profound results than some other forms of photorejuvenation such as, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL). If you are looking for solutions to problems like severe acne or sun damage, this treatment will help kill acne-causing bacteria and can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. If you are looking to treat severe acne without the use of prescription medication or have exhausted other methods, PDT may be your solution. While PDT can help with acne, it will likely not rid your skin of acne scars. 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.
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 and helps to simulate collagen production. PDT helps skin to appear healthier and firmer and can reduce redness from rosacea.
For acne, you will receive treatment with light only, no photosensitizing agent. The light helps to reduce the activity of the sebaceous glands (known for producing oil), to reduce the potential for acne breakouts. The light also helps to kill the acne-causing bacteria that lives on the skin.
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 or visible sun damage, 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.
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.
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.Find a skincare professional near you >