Photodynamic Therapy with Levulan
Our skin care center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania offers a safe and effective alternative treatment for the acne, rosacea and sun-damaged skin that has been unresponsive to traditional therapies. This advance in cosmetic medicine is called PhotoDynamic Therapy (PDT). Also known as ALA/PDT, this treatment is performed with a topical photosensitizing agent called Levulan (5-aminolevulinic acid or ALA). Applied to the skin, ALA is preferentially taken up by precancerous skin lesions (Actinic Keratoses) as well as other photodamaged skin cells. After an hour’s incubation period, we use an IPL Laser, (superior to the Blue Light), to activate the medication which results in the destruction of these abnormal cells. Because we use a vascular laser to activate the Levulan, red and brown skin discolorations are also effectively treated. The improvement of severely sun-damaged skin can be dramatic.
Levulan treatments are also extremely effective for acne. The P. Acnes bacterium and oil glands also incorporate ALA. With light activation, the bacteria is destroyed, oil production greatly reduced, and pore size shrunk. Because a vascular laser is the Levulan activator, skin reddness so often seen with Rosacea and acne lesions is decreased. Prior to Levulan, this kind of treatment response could only be achieved with the drug Accutane. However, unlike Accutane, Levulan is without side effects, risks of toxicities or the need for monthly blood testing.
Sun avoidance for the first 24 hours is mandatory following ALA treatment. During this time, treated skin will be red and feel sunburned. Ibuprofen or a topical steroid cream can be used if desired. As with sunburn, skin peeling and flaking may follow several days after treatment.
Best results are obtained following 3-5 treatments which are spaced 2-3 weeks apart. Improvement can be maintained for nine months to a year and in some, even longer. A maintenance treatment can be repeated when needed by returning to our Lancaster office at regular intervals. Levulan is truly a medical breakthrough! For more information on Levulan, www.dusapharma.com.
Blue Light Therapy Vs. IPL Laser combined with Levulan
When treating acne, brown spots from sun damage, hyper-pigmentation and actinic keratosis, we have found that a better response to photodymanic therapy treatments is obtained when the Levulan is activated by our IPL lasers rather than a blue light. This is due to the fact that IPL Lasers possess wavelengths of light that not only activates the Levulan but also targets red and brown discolorations. Blue light, being of a single wavelength, can only activate the Levulan. It does not address hyper-pigmentation or skin redness. Levulan with IPL also reduces large pores, decreases oily skin conditions and provides an improved overall PDT experience.