Some skin conditions and blemishes call for the dual power of PhotoDynamic Therapy (PDT) using Intense Pulsed Light (IPL). This specialized treatment is highly effective in removing precancerous spots called Actinic Keratoses. PhotoDynamic Therapy using IPL also improves sun-damaged skin, fine lines, blotchy pigmentation and rough skin patches. And with its unique ability to minimize pores and reduce oil glands, PDT effectively treats acne vulgaris and acne rosacea, and diminishes some acne scars.
How PhotoDynamic Therapy using IPL works
PhotoDynamic Therapy, also known as ALA/PDT treatment, uses a topical agent call Levulan (5-aminolevulanic acid or ALA) that increases the skin’s sensitivity to light. At Skin Solutions from Plastic & Hand, we apply photosensitizing Levulan to your skin, then activate it with the correct wavelength of IPL light.
Why PDT is the preferred treatment for acne
Acne is a condition that affects more than 80% of teenagers and many adults. During puberty, our bodies produce large amounts of an oily substance called sebum. When combined with extra skin debris, sebum sticks together causing pores to clog. Without effective treatment, clogged pores can become red, swollen and infected, and form unsightly pimples that can lead to scarring. Topical creams can irritate the skin and take months to work. Antibiotics have side effects and become less effective over time. But after several PDT treatments using IPL, we find that mild and active acne can improve dramatically.
What treatment involves
Your Skin Solutions aesthetician will cleanse and properly prepare the area being treated. In some cases, we might perform microdermabrasion first. For some skin types, we may use a gentle cleanser instead. After applying the Levulan evenly to the area, we leave it on the skin for up to an hour. We than take you to the treatment room and activate the Levulan with IPL which contains “blue light” and other wavelengths of high-intensity light.
For most skin conditions we recommend a series of three or more treatments performed two to three weeks apart.
What results can be expected with PDT
You will see gradual improvement with each PDT treatment using IPL. However, you should plan on needing time to recover after each treatment. Once you’ve completed your series of treatments, you should enjoy excellent results for a year or more. Additional treatments to maintain the desired result should be arranged every 6 months.
After your procedure, the treated area might appear red, especially if you have sensitive skin. You may experience some peeling for up to a week. Mild swelling can occur around the lips or eyes, but should subside within a day or two. Pigmentation spots can become temporarily darker, then peel off leaving your skin smooth and even-toned. You will be photosensitive for several days so we advise you to stay out of the sun and apply sun block regularly.
Who should consider PhotoDynamic Therapy using IPL?
PhotoDynamic Therapy using IPL isn’t for everyone. However, this FDA-approved therapy is a real breakthrough for men, women and teenagers dealing with pre-cancerous spots, stubborn acne and significant blemishes. A consultation at Skin Solutions from Plastic & Hand will determine if this treatment can benefit you.