Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
PDT is generally used for the treatment of skin cancer and pre-cancerous lesions but can also be used with great results for photo rejuvenation of sun damaged skin and as an alternative treatment for acne.
The cream, ALA (amino levulanic acid) or Methyl aminolevulinate is applied to the area to be treated. It penetrates into sun damaged cells faster than normal cells and accumulates in the acne follicles.
The area is covered with Tegaderm dressing to allow better penetration. After a period of 1-3 hours, the dressing is taken-off and the excess cream is wiped off.
A special light source is used to illuminate the area for a period of 30 minutes.
The light activates the cream and produces Oxygen radicals. These free radicals destroy the abnormal cells that have absorbed the cream.
You will experience some burning and discomfort in the treated area while these cells are dying.
You will usually get a pre-medication to take 45min before the light treatment.
In the following 24 hours it will feel like very severe sunburn. The skin will turn red. There may also be associated swelling crusting and oozing. This usually improves within 7 to 10 days.
AFTER CARE TREATMENT
- After treatment the skin sometimes crusts and oozes. To clean the skin use 1 Tablespoon of salt dissolved in 2 cups of lukewarm water (instead of using soap) twice a day (morning and evening).
- Use a FACECLOTH, dipped into the salt water solution and drape the soaking wet facecloth on the treated area. Leave to soak for 10 minutes to soften the skin and then firmly wipe off the crusts. It does not matter if there is a bit of bleeding. Apply anti-bacterial ointment afterwards (thin layer).
- It is important to keep the area well moisturized with Aqueous Cream (5-6 times a day); you can apply the Aqueous Cream over the thin layer of anti-bacterial ointment.
- To relieve pain, use an ice-pack on the treated area (frozen peas work just as well and are soft).
- In those first 24 hours it may be necessary to take more pain killers as prescribed.
- You should avoid the sun for at least 2 days after the treatment.
The crusting and oozing generally peaks at day 3 and healing occurs within 1-2 weeks. The skin will peel off (like sunburn), but heals completely. Although it will be very unsightly for those 1-2 weeks the end results are always good.