Ideal treatment for:
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a skin treatment that combines a topical cream (called 5 ALA) and a light source (red LED lights). This combination destroys damaged skin cells, including cancerous, precancerous and sun-damaged cells, to reveal the healthier skin beneath.
PDT is an effective and safe skin cancer treatment for certain superficial and precancerous lesions as recommended by your doctor, that can further reduce your risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers in the treatment area for patients with a history of basal and squamous cell carcinomas.
PDT also calms acne and rosacea, helping you to achieve smoother, clearer and healthier skin.
A topical cream called 5 ALA is applied to the treatment area and left to incubate while it is absorbed by sun-damaged skin cells. The cream is removed and the area is exposed to a red LED light source. The damaged skin cells affected by the cream are destroyed. This creates a peel reaction that sloughs off over the next week.
PDT provides excellent cosmetic results for those who have heavily sun-damaged or sun-aged skin. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of further development of non-melanoma skin cancers for those with a personal history of the disease.
Photodynamic therapy is a non-surgical treatment option for skin cancers, precancerous lesions, sun-damaged skin, acne, rosacea and more, that achieves effective and safe results without scarring or the long downtime typically associated with surgical therapies.
Since photodynamic therapy specifically targets damaged skin cells, healthy cells are left intact to reveal bright, smooth and healthy skin in just a few days.
A versatile treatment for damaged skin, photodynamic therapy is ideal for acne, rosacea, ageing, and other skin conditions like general sun damage.
You may be advised to book a standard red LED light therapy treatment 2-3 days prior to your PDT treatment to help stimulate the healing mechanism of the skin.
Close windows, blinds and skylights before leaving your house for your treatment as you will become very light-sensitive after the treatment.
Inform your doctor of any significant medical history and provide a complete list of medications as some may interfere with PDT, including Roaccutane.
A history of cold sores is very important to mention to your doctor, but does not mean you cannot have PDT. An antiviral treatment can be commended before your treatment.
Prepare to stay in the centre for 2-3 hours as you must not go outside during the treatment. You may undergo a light microdermabrasion treatment if your treatment area is the face. The incubation time for the 5 ALA cream varies from patient to patient. Once the cream is washed off, the LED light therapy will take 10-20 minutes.
There is a degree of discomfort involved. The red LED lights are bright and hot; the skin undergoes the equivalent of a burn. Soothing gels will be applied after your treatment and further cream will be supplied to assist with comfort and healing at home.
There have not been any reported serious side effects of PDT, however it can be an uncomfortable experience and the degrees of reaction can vary. You must carry out a good hygiene approach after leaving the centre to avoid infection. Wash your hands regularly, do not pick at the skin, and stay away from dirty environments.
Your post-treatment downtime will vary depending on the nature of your work and whether you work indoors or outdoors. As a guide, a minimum of 1-2 weeks downtime is recommended following PDT treatment. Shorter periods of downtime can be expected with a milder treatment approach.
Immediately after your PDT treatment, you will feel light-sensitive. You should remain indoors as much as possible. Avoid sunlit windows and bright indoor lights. If you must go outside for very brief periods, wear a broad-brimmed hat and SPF50+ sunscreen once your skin can tolerate it.
Days 1-2: Extreme light-sensitivity. Stay indoors.
Says 3-5: Red and tender skin which may start to peel, scab and flake off. This means the treatment has worked well.
Days 6-9: Redness starts to ease. Skin may be itchy, tight and uncomfortable.
Days 10-14: Smooth, healthy skin begins to form. Pink glow should fade over ensuing weeks.
Avoid UV exposure for one week and wear protective clothing, a broad-brimmed hat and dark sunglasses. Wear SPF50+ sunscreen all year-round.
Do not use exfoliation treatments on the treated area. Only use the creams supplied.
Do not wear make-up while your skin is healing.
Commence your regular skincare routine 2-4 weeks after your PDT treatment, with exfoliants, microneedling, antioxidants and moisturiser.
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