Also known as blue light therapy, photodynamic therapy (PDT) is proven effective at eliminating certain types of skin cancer cells and providing relief to patients with chronic skin conditions and acne. This treatment requires the application of a photosensitizing drug which is then activated using a light source and eliminates the need for surgery on smaller areas of tissue. Some of the conditions that can be treated using photodynamic therapy are:
- Actinic keratosis (common, precancerous cells)
- Nonmelanoma skin cancers
- Sun damage
How Photodynamic Therapy Works
Each treatment consists of three steps:
- A topical serum or drug, known as the photosensitizer, is applied to the affected area.
- You then enter an incubation period and wait anywhere from 30 – 60 minutes for the photosensitive medication to take effect.
- A specific wavelength of light is emitted via a light source, activating the drug. This will, in turn, will treat the target tissue by damaging the abnormal nearby cells.
Photodynamic therapy is mostly painless, but in some cases, patients may experience stinging, heat and discomfort. There is also little to no downtime and is an outpatient procedure performed without anesthesia. A few sessions are required to see significant improvements and should be spaced between four and six weeks apart. This is to allow your skin sufficient time to heal and to prevent issues such as hyperpigmentation.
After an appointment, it’s imperative that patients stay out of the sun for at least 48 hours to avoid burns and UV damage.
Set Up Your Appointment With a Dermatologist Today
If you want to find out if you are a good candidate for photodynamic therapy, use the buttons below to find a clinician or location near you that offers this treatment.