If you have skin concerns like acne or psoriasis, or pre-cancerous growths like actinic keratoses, you may benefit from photodynamic therapy (PDT) to clear your skin. Dr. Lise Morrison and the dermatology team at Boulder Dermatology, located in Boulder and Louisville, Colorado, offer this innovative treatment that destroys and removes abnormal skin cells. If you want clear skin or are concerned about skin cancer, call or request an appointment online today.
PDT stands for photodynamic therapy. It’s a medical treatment that uses light to activate a medication to treat certain skin conditions.
Dr. Morrison and her dermatology team use PDT to treat skin concerns like acne, sun damage, wrinkles, psoriasis, and rosacea. It’s also an effective treatment for thin, superficial skin cancers known as actinic keratoses.
The treatment destroys abnormal skin cells to reveal fresh, healthy skin.
PDT uses a topical medication, usually Levulan® Kerastick®, which is activated by certain wavelengths of light to eliminate abnormal skin cells. The light causes the medication to react with oxygen and form the chemical that kills the targeted cells.
Actinic keratoses are precancerous cells that develop on the skin as a result of sun exposure and damage. They initially appear as small rough patches on the skin and are typically found on your face, scalp, ears, shoulders, and other areas frequently exposed to the sun. They’re more common on fair-skinned people.
Dr. Morrison and the other dermatologists at Boulder Dermatology can diagnose actinic keratoses by examining your skin. If they find these lesions on your skin, they’ll talk to you about your treatment options, including PDT. Treatment is critical as actinic keratoses can develop into deeper and more invasive forms of skin cancer.
Dr. Morrison or another member of the dermatology team carefully cleanses your skin before applying the medication to the area being treated. You then wait for 30-60 minutes while the medication incubates on your skin. The incubation time depends on your skin pigmentation and the size of the area being treated.
Then your doctor turns on the light source which activates the medication. You rest under the light for 10-20 minutes. You may experience a warming sensation during treatment. After your light exposure is complete, your doctor cleans the medication off your skin and applies sunscreen.
Most patients have two treatments approximately four weeks apart for optimal effects. Dr. Morrison provides individual advice on the number of treatments you will need.
You need to avoid the sun completely for 48 hours following treatment as the medication makes your skin extremely light-sensitive. Make sure to wear sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat when you go outside after the initial 48 hours.
Your doctor will give you specific instructions on keeping your skin clean and moisturized following PDT treatment.
If you’re interested in PDT treatment, call or use the online booking tool to request a consultation today.