Photodynamic Light Therapy

San Francisco Dermatology | Cosmetic Photo Dynamic Light Therapy

We are offering a treatment at Presidio Dermatology called Photodynamic Therapy or “PDT” to treat several different skin issues. One is pre-cancerous changes of the skin called actinic keratoses. We are also recommending it for the treatment of moderately to severely sun-damaged skin. At this point it is only FDA approved for treating actinic keratoses.

The basis of the treatment is that your skin is first treated with ALA, or aminolevulinic acid. ALA is a clear liquid that is easily applied here in the office. This chemical makes your skin more sensitive to intense blue light and to natural light as well. After an incubation time of one hour, during which time you need to remain here, we treat your skin with this intense blue light (called the Blue U) .

For sun damage spots, or actinic keratoses, the beauty of PDT is that you can get all your spots treated at the same time with less down time than traditional therapies.  It may take more than one PDT treatment to treat all your actinic keratoses.

For general improvement of sun-damaged skin, PDT is very exciting. With even one treatment, you will see improvement in the texture and appearance of your skin. Your skin will reflect light better and any color irregularities will begin to even out. Dark spots should lighten and any unwanted blood vessels will fade. PDT is a great way to give your skin a wonderful boost with only a few days of down time! Plus any pre-cancerous changes will be treated.

There are several potential side effects with this treatment.
1. You will be more sensitive to the sun for about 48 hours afterwards; any sun exposure will give you in essence a very bad sunburn. You must follow our instructions carefully.
2.You may get swollen for about 24 hours. In the post procedure instructions we will give you some tips for avoiding this.

We have been getting great results with PDT. If you think you may be a candidate, please schedule an appointment for more information.  Existing patients can now schedule through MyChart Online Scheduling.

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