Photodynamic Therapy & BLU-U® Acne Treatment
WHAT IS PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY (PDT)?
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) at Concept Medical in Ottawa uses the combination of prescription topical gel (Levulan®) and a special blue light (BLU-U®) to treat various skin conditions. PDT treatments remove sun damaged precancerous areas and spots called actinic keratoses and can help decrease acne. Once applied to the skin, Levulan® is absorbed by abnormal skin cells. The application of the BLU-U® causes these abnormal cells to be eliminated by the body. BLU-U® may also be used alone to help kill the acne-causing bacteria known as P. acnes.
WHAT DOES PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY INVOLVE?
PDT starts by applying a special topical medical gel to the skin, called Levulan®. This clear, colourless liquid is absorbed into the skin for 30-60 minutes. The second step involves exposing the skin to a specific wavelength of blue light to “activate” the Levulan®. The exposure time to Levulan® and to the activating light are customized for each patient. Total treatment time is approximately an hour, and no anesthetic or numbing cream is required. For acne, the BLU-U® light will often be used alone, without any topical Levulan® . BLU-U® treatment for acne takes only minutes.
WHAT IS PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY USED FOR?
Photodynamic therapy in Ottawa is primarily used to treat actinic keratosis, or early precancerous cells. Sun damage, fine lines, and blotchy pigmentation have also been noted to respond to this treatment. Furthermore, there have been observations suggesting that PDT can reduce pore size, improve acne, and soften the appearance of some acne scars.
HOW MANY SESSIONS OF PDT ARE REQUIRED?
A minimum of three treatments approximately four weeks apart is the most common protocol for PDT at Concept Medical in Ottawa. However, photodynamic therapy treatments are tailored to each patient’s specific condition. BLU-U® treatments for acne are generally performed twice per week for 4-8 weeks.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER A PHOTODYNAMIC TREATMENT?
If BLU-U® is used for acne, patients often have no redness, downtime, or discomfort following treatment. If Levulan® is applied prior to BLU-U®, the treated areas usually appear slightly pink immediately after treatment. For the next few days, you may notice some exfoliating skin. It is important to minimize sun exposure and wear sunblock and moisturizer following treatment. Make-up may be applied at any time. Patients with acne may notice a slight but transient increase in their acne symptoms after PDT. PDT can be combined with other therapies such as Botox, photorejuventation and MicroLaserPeel®.