Photodynamic Acne Treatment (PDT) is a process by which a photosensitizing agent (Levulan) is applied to your skin. A photosensitizing agent is a special solution applied to the skin that is activated by a specific wavelength of light, which “turns it on.” Levulan, originally approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to treat pre-cancerous skin lesions called actinic keratosis, has been used extensively for the treatment of a variety of different skin conditions. Levulan is a 20% solution of Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA), a “natural” product found in all humans throughout the body, acts as a precursor for hemoglobin synthesis.
The purpose of activating the Levulan is to improve the appearance of the skin by reducing acne rosacea, acne vulgaris, sebaceous hyperplasia, decrease oiliness of the skin, and improve texture and smoothness by minimizing pore size. One week after treatment, your damaged/inflamed skin sheds leaving you with new revitalized skin.
PDT TREATMENT PROCESS
- Vibradermabrasion: The process begins with mechanical exfoliation of the skin to slough off any dead skin cells and allow for deeper penetration and absorption of the Levulan.
Levulan: Next, Levulan will be topically applied to the skin and left on for roughly 60 minutes.
- BLU-U light: Subsequently, the area will be treated with a specific wavelength of light (blue light therapy) to activate the Levulan. The fluorescent light technology kills the Propionibacterium (P. acnes) bacteria.
- Avoid sun exposure (apply sunscreen daily and do not tan at all) for 4-6 weeks before and after treatment.
- If you have a history of cold sores, notify your provider. We may write you a prescription for prophylactic antiviral therapy to start on the day of treatment to prevent a flare-up.
- Arrive with clean skin (no make-up, moisturizers, sunscreen). Bring a hat, sunglasses and scarf, as needed to the office.
POST-TREATMENT EXPECTATIONS/ INSTRUCTIONS
- Mild/moderate/severe stinging and burning of the skin. Apply cool ice compresses on and off if skin feels warm.
- Red and sensitive, similar to a sunburn. Redness may persist for a few days.
- Dryness and peeling will vary per individual. Peeling could persist for 3-5 days
- Take analgesics such as Tylenol or Advil, if necessary for pain.
- Take Benadryl, as directed, if itching occurs. Do not rub or scratch the skin.
- You may shower the day of treatment.
- Remain indoors and avoid direct and indirect sunlight for 48-72 hours. This includes driving/ riding in the car and sitting by windows. Use a physical sunblock (containing zinc oxide ex. LC’s Tinted SPF 50) and wear a brimmed hat daily.
- Use a gentle cleanser twice daily followed by a gentle moisturiser twice daily and before bed. Pat dry, DO NOT rub or scrub!
Avoid harsh products with active ingredients (retinols, vitamin C serums, hydroquinone).
- Avoid direct sunlight for 1-2 weeks. Use sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (LC’s Tinted SPF 50).
- If blister forms, soak the treated area with a 1 tsp white vinegar in 1 cup of cold water. Ice should be applied directly over the vinegar soaks. Soak and apply ice for approximately 15 minutes. Pat the area dry and apply LC’s Restorative Ointment. Repeat this procedure every 4-6 hours.
- You may resume your normal skincare regimen with daily sunscreen use, and begin applying makeup or shave once the irritation has resolved (1-2 weeks later). It is important to wear a MINERAL make-up as it will not clog your pores.
***EXTREME SUN AND INDOOR LIGHT SENSITIVITY FOR 48-72 HOURS! YOU MUST STAY OUT OF THE SUN COMPLETELY! ***
If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to call our office: 888-406-4801