Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment that combines a cream (either Metvix™ or Levulan™) and light source (LED red light) to obtain the desired result. This treatment has proven success in treating actinic keratoses (pre-cancerous skin lesions) and superficial skin cancers, as well as treating acne (as they target the bacteria in the skin that causes acne, as well as the hyperactive oil glands), large pores and sun damage. Growing in popularity due to its rejuvenation effects, photodynamic therapy is becoming a mainstay treatment for treating large areas of the skin simultaneously in a safe way.
Metvix™ (16% methyl aminolevulinate) and Levulan™ (20% aminolevulinic acid) are photosensitizers that get activated by light or ultraviolet radiation. After application on the skin, they are able to penetrate deeply into oil glands, sun-damaged skin or precancerous cells. When activated by a light source, porphyrins are produced that will effectively destroy the target and result in the desired outcome.
PDT can be used as an alternative to surgery for pre-cancerous lesions and superficial skin cancers. When a large area of sun damage and precancerous skin lesions are present, PDT is a great alternative to treat the entire region at the same time. For acne, PDT can treat active breakouts and oily skin, while simultaneously evening out the skin tone.
Depending on the underlying condition, Dr. Munk will chose either Levulan™ or Metvix™. These creams will be applied in office, and left on the skin for a period of 1-3 hours (Dr. Munk will decide the length). Subsequently, the light will activate the creams in order to acquire the desired outcome.
It is important for patients undergoing these procedures to avoid sun and bright light for 48 hours following their treatment. Some crusting, redness and sensitive skin can be expected for 3-5 days following treatment. Depending on the condition being treated, multiple sessions may be required.