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Photo Dynamic Therapy

What is Photodynamic Therapy?

Photodynamic Therapy is a special treatment using a photosensitizing agent called Levulan ( 5 aminolevulinic acid HCL 20%) which is activated with the correct wavelength of light. This treatment removes sun damaged precancerous zones and spots called actinic keratosis.


There is also a positive effect on sun damaged skin, fine lines, and blotchy pigmentation. It has the ability to minimize pores and reduce oil gland production. Levulan also is a great way to effectively treat stubborn acne vulgaris, acne rosacea , and improves the appearance of some acne scars.

How Long Will It Take?

The appointment will last approximately 1½ hours, most of which is an incubation period. To achieve maximal improvement of the skin, more than one treatment may be required. Additional treatments can be done at periodic intervals in the future to maintain the rejuvenated appearance of the skin.

What Should I Expect?

Following Photodynamic Therapy, the treated areas will appear red with some peeling for 2 – 12 days. Some patients have an exaggerated response and experience marked redness of their skin. Temporary swelling of the lips and around your eyes can occur for a few days. Darker pigmentation patches can become temporarily darker and then peel off, leaving normal, rejuvenated skin which can take 7 – 12 days.

What Should I Avoid?

Patients should avoid exposure of the areas treated with Levulan to sunlight, bright windows, and bright indoor light for 40 hours after treatment. Exposure may cause redness, swelling of the skin, and prolong the recovery process. Patients should protect their skin from the sun and bright light by wearing a wide brimmed hat or similar head covering and by keeping a thick coat of sun-blocking agent, such as zinc-oxide, on the skin until after the peeling has occurred. Some actinic keratosis, especially thicker lesions, may need additional treatment with liquid nitrogen, topical cream, or photodynamic therapy. When used to treat acne and rosacea, a series of treatments are often needed to obtain optimal results. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled to assess the progress of your skin condition.

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