Photodynamic therapy, or PDT, is a blue light therapy treatment used to target and treat actinic keratosis (AK), or rough-textured, dry patches on the skin caused by excessive UV exposure, such as sunlight.
Actinic keratosis can range in color from skin-tone to a reddish-brown, and can be as small as a pinhead or as large as a quarter. It occurs most often on the face, scalp, and ears.
A PDT treatment uses compounds called photosensitizing agents with blue light to treat areas of excessive UV damage.
This compound gradually absorbs into the skin cells before the light is applied. Adding light causes the compounds to react with oxygen which neutralizes the damaged cells.
A photodynamic therapy appointment can take about 1.5 - 2 hours. The first 1 - 1.5 hours are needed for the photosensitizing agent to absorb, and the remaining 20 minutes are used for the blue light treatment.
During the blue light treatment, a blue light box will be positioned around your face or scalp and you will be given protective eyewear. The blue light is low in intensity and will not heat the skin. You may experience sensations of burning, tingling, stinging, or prickling of the treated AKs. However, these feelings should subside as early as 1 minute after treatment.
To prepare for your blue light therapy service, plan to stay out of sunlight or any other UV light for 48 hours after treatment. It is highly recommended to bring some form of sun coverage with you when you go out, such as a wide-brimmed hat or sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Everyone’s skin is different, so your skincare plan should be too.
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