Treatments & Procedures
Most common in teenagers & young adults, Acne, is a skin disease that occurs when hair follicles are clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the skin.
Hard-to-treat acne can require other light based treatments in order to prevent scarring of the skin. A noninvasive procedure that treats hard-to-treat active acne combines light and a special light-activated solution that targets and destroys acne activity. The procedure is called Photo Dynamic Therapy.
Photodynamic Acne Treatment (PDT)
PDT is a process by which a photosensitizing agent called Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA) is applied to the skin that is activated by a specific wavelength of light, which “turns it on.” ALA is a “natural” product found throughout the body. It is a precursor for hemoglobin synthesis, which is used in red blood cells.
Acne results from the obstruction and inflammation of the sebaceous glands, and it affects 80% of the human population. Acne typically begins in adolescence with hormonal changes. However, there are many older individuals who suffer from“adult acne.”There are different levels of acne ranging from milder comedonal (blackheads and whiteheads) to moderate, pustular, on to severe cystic acne. In many cases, several or all of these levels of acne can be present on an individual simultaneously.
Cause of Acne
Acne is caused by overactive sebaceous glands in the skin. The sebaceous glands, triggered by male hormones, produce sebum (oil) in the skin. Infact male hormone, it is present in both men and women. Production of this hormone is highest during puberty, but it is always present in the body.
When androgen levels increase, the sebaceous glands release sebum. Ordinarily this oily substance spills onto the skin. When cells from the lining of hair follicles shed too quickly—clumping together and clogging pores—sebum is trapped beneath the skin causing whiteheads and blackheads. Sebum can then mix with the trapped cells and cause Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes)—bacteria normally found on the skin–to grow in the clogged follicles. P. acnes can cause inflammation and pus and can result in papules or pustules. When the follicles expand as much as they can, bumps called nodules are formed under the skin.
Moderate acne may include blackheads and whiteheads in addition to papules —inflamed lesions that appear as small, reddish or pinkish bumps that can be sensitive to touch—or pustules—inflamed, white-centered bumps that can be red at the base.
Severe acne is characterized by nodules —large, painful, solid lesions that appear as lumps under the skin—and cysts —deep, inflamed, pus-filled lesions that can be very painful. Nodules and cysts are inflammatory and can cause scarring.
Prior to Photodynamic Acne Treatment, the best available treatment option for resistant and cystic acne was Roaccutane. However, with Roaccutane there are many bodily side effects including birth defects, liver abnormalities, mood depression, and virtually all patients get dryness and night vision changes. PDT Acne Treatment provides a viable alternative to all types of acne treatment without having negative systemic effects.
The advantages of PDT are rapid treatment of acne lesions all over the face, no scarring, no surgical excisions and no systemic side effects. The skin appears refreshed and younger following these treatments. We advise 2-3 treatments at 2 to 3 week intervals to obtain optimal results.
The “downside” of Photodynamic treatment (PDT) is that the skin will be red and have some skin peeling and crusting for several days after the treatment. Usually, the first 1-2 days are the worst. Mineral base powder will hide most of the redness. You must remain indoors the day following your treatment to avoid sun exposure, as you are photosensitive for about 24-48 hours after PDT.