Light treatments for Acne

Why would you treat acne with Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)?

PDT is an in-office light treatment to treat acne. PDT is an effective way to treat acne, especially if you have tried antibiotic pills in combination with prescription gels & creams and not seen an improvement in your acne. PDT is a good alternative treatment to isotretinoin (Accutane). If you don’t want to take Accutane, PDT may be the next best treatment for your acne.

Does PDT cure acne?

Nothing cures acne, but PDT can clear up acne-prone skin for a period without having to take prescription pills. Most PDT packages include a weekly treatment session for 3-4weeks. The skin will remain clear for anywhere form 4-6months.

Treatment of acne with photodynamic therapy.

How do I know if I am a candidate for PDT?

Ask your skin care provider. In general, you can do PDT if you aren’t taking any photo-sensitizing medication (i.e. medication the causes your skin to sunburn more easily) and you don’t have a condition that causes your skin to burn (such as Lupus).

How does PDT work?

First a photosensitizing product called aminolevulinic acid (ALA) is applied to the skin. The sebaceous glands (otherwise known as oil glands) absorb the ALA and turn it into porphyrins. Porphyrins are light sensitive so when the red light is used to illuminate the skin it activates the porphyrins. The activated porphyrins kill the oil producing cells.

Also, the bacteria that causes acne (called Propionibacterium acnes) accumulate porphyrins and are killed with red light illumination.

In summary, PDT clears acne by decreasing the size and activity of the sebaceous (oil) glands and by killing the bacteria that causes acne, Propionibacterium acnes.

Why does Red Light work better than Blue light or Lasers for acne?

What happens to the skin after PDT?

After a PDT session, you must plan on staying out of the sunlight for 48hours. These means that you shouldn’t leave the coverage of your home for 48 hours. For a week, your skin with peel and appear red. Skin stops peeling after 1 week. It may continue to look red for 2-3 weeks. We recommend a session weekly for 3 sessions. Skin stay clear for 4-6 months but sometimes longer.

What is the treatment like?

How expensive is PDT?

PDT for acne is NOT covered by health insurance. PDT costs $500 a session or $1,200 for a package of 3 sessions.

Author
Dr. Alexis Dougherty, MD Board Certified Dermatologist Mother Wife Beach volley ball player Runner From Texas Owner & Director of Kind Dermatology & Medical Spa

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