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Light at the blue end of the spectrum has a very short wavelength and high energy. This makes it ideal for addressing a variety of skin conditions. The treatment is called photodynamic therapy, and it is available from Dr. Ariel Ostad.

What can Photodynamic Therapy do?

Photodynamic therapy, or PDT, involves a special medication called aminolevulinic acid (ALA) is applied to skin for one hour. It is then activated with blue light for approximately 15 minutes, creating controlled damage at a proper depth. PDT is used to:

  • Remove actinic keratoses—pre-cancerous lesions
  • Even out skin tone
  • Reduce sun damage
  • Treat acne
  • Shrink sebaceous (oil) glands
Photodynamic Therapy

What to expect with Photodynamic Therapy?

You should protect your skin with zinc oxide sunscreen of at least SPF 30 for a month prior to treatment, to minimize risk of discoloration. Stop using artificial tanners three weeks in advance. Then:

  • Skin is cleansed to remove all traces of makeup and oil
  • An aminolevulinic acid solution is applied
  • After 60 minutes, you don protective goggles while skin is treated with blue light for about 15 minutes. You feel warmth, tingling, or stinging for approximately 30-60. Since topical numbing is not effective for this treatment, we keep skin comfortable with a cooling device
  • Sunscreen is applied, and you may return home
  • Tingling, warmth, redness, and swelling may persist for up to three days. Discomfort can be managed with cool compresses and over the counter analgesics
  • Skin flakes for about a week. Cleanse it gently—no scrubbing—and keep the treated area covered with a thin layer of petroleum jelly
  • You may wear makeup when there is no longer redness or crusting
  • It is essential to avoid sun exposure for the first 48 hours, and continue to use sunscreen until healing is complete

Dr. Ostad on Skin Cancer

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Skin Cancer
Dr. Ariel Ostad

FAQ

What is Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)?

PDT, also known as Blue Light Therapy, is used to treat actinic keratoses—pre-cancerous lesions, even skin tone, reduce sun damage, treat acne and shrink oil glands causing acne.

How does Photodynamic Therapy work?

PDT involves a medication called aminolevulinic acid (ALA) which is applied to the skin for an hour. It is then activated with the blue light therapy for about 15 minutes, which creates controlled damage at proper depth.

Is there any downtime?

You may feel some tingling, warmth, redness and swelling up to three days post procedure. Skin can flake for up to a week.

How long should I avoid the sun before and after the procedure?

It is important to avoid the sun for a month prior to the procedure, making sure to apply a sunscreen of SPF 30 to minimize risk of discoloration. After the procedure, avoid sun exposure for first 2 day, and be sure to use sunscreen until skin is completely healed.

How long does the procedure take?

Once the aminolevulinic acid solution is applied for an hour, the blue light procedure itself takes 15 minutes.

What does it feel like?

You will feel warmth, tingling or stinging for about 30-60 minutes; however, we keep your skin comfortable with a cooling device.

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