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Photodynamic Therapy

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Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment performed with a topical medication called Levulan® that is activated with the specialized BLU-U® light. These treatments have the unique ability to reduce oil glands, effectively treating acne without oral medication. In addition, we use photodynamic therapy in our Tucson practice for skin rejuvenation to reverse sun damage.

If you're ready to enhance the health and appearance of your skin, visit the cosmetic dermatology leaders at Skin Spectrum. To find out more about photodynamic therapy, request a cosmetic consultation online or call (520) 797-8885.

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Dr. Tina Pai

What can photodynamic therapy do?

We use photodynamic therapy to dramatically improve active acne in our Tucson practice. You may also see improvement of large pores, less oil on the skin, and generally smoother, more uniform skin. Photodynamic therapy also treats actinic keratoses (pre-cancerous skin cells) and other minor sun damage. If you have severe sun damage, an intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment can be performed on the same day to give you excellent improvement in skin tone and texture, darker brown spots, and broken blood vessels, in addition to treating pre-cancerous areas.

How many treatments are needed?

To achieve maximum improvement of acne, a series of 4 to 5 treatments spaced 2 weeks apart is most effective for acne. Most patients with actinic keratoses achieve good results with a single treatment. Periodic treatments may be needed to maintain your results. Treatment for oily skin is usually a series of only the BLU-U light and may require several treatments over a period of a few weeks.

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What can I expect?

First, a light microdermabrasion will be performed to exfoliate your skin. Acetone is then applied to clean the skin, followed by Levulan to the area that is going to be treated. Occasionally there is some stinging when the Levulan is applied. For acne, Levulan is left on for 60 minutes before you sit in front of the BLU-U light for approximately 8 to 15 minutes. For treating sun damage, the Levulan may be left from 2 to 24 hours depending on the area. While sitting in front of the BLU-U light, some patients may notice a slight burning sensation that peaks at around 3 minutes. For oily skin, no preparation is required, and patients typically sit under the BLU-U light for 10 to 20 minutes per session.

What can I expect after treatment?

It is imperative that your skin is not exposed to sunlight for 24 hours after having a treatment, due to sun sensitivity from the Levulan. Following the procedure, the treated areas can appear red with some peeling for 2 to 7 days. It is all right to wear make-up after treatment. There is no downtime for just the light treatment for oily skin.

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