Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

For sun-damaged skin with persistent dry patches and areas which we suspect could be pre-cancerous and also for acne.

What is PDT?

Photodynamic therapy a two staged procedure:

1.  A medicine, aminolevulinic acid (ALA), is applied to an area of skin, this medicine is absorbed into the skin and especially attracted to ‘abnormally’ fast growing cells such as bacteria, sebaceous cells and precancerous cells. 

2. The skin is then exposed to bright light and we find the cells that have absorbed the ALA are light sensitive are selectively destroyed.

What can PDT improve?

PDT in combination with our advanced intense pulsed light treatment will target any areas that may be pre-cancerous and dry scaly areas that are persistent despite previous treatment. Fotofacials can also help to restore a more youthful appearance to your skin by improving redness, flushing, pigmentation problems, open pores, scars, wrinkles and will provide you with a smoother, healthier, younger looking skin. 

What does it involve?

Firstly, you would need to have a consultation with our doctor or one of our Registered Nurses to ensure you are suitable for this procedure.

We would then arrange a short appointment for you for the application of the ALA. A minimum of 3 hours is required before we do an intense pulse light (IPL) treatment. It is advisable either to come in late afternoon and then arrange an appointment for IPL the following morning or come in the morning and return in the afternoon. The IPL treatment usually takes about 30 minutes.

What will I look like post treatment and will it hurt?

The ALA may slightly increase the discomfort of the IPL treatment. The sensation experienced is mostly the discomfort related to the IPL, which is described as ‘the flick of a rubber band’. Areas where the abnormal cells have been ‘activated’ may be slightly more sensitive when exposed to the light.

Immediately following your treatment you will be red. The next day this may be even more evident and may last 2-7 days depending on your skin type.  In the 1st and 2nd days, you may have extreme sensitivity to light so keep indoors as much as possible, keep away from direct sunshine and all forms of bright lights.  Tingling, burning, mild swelling, and tight uncomfortable skin are all normal effects of PDT.  

Any pigmentation you may have will darken following IPL treatment. A scab may form where abnormal cells have been destroyed, which usually flakes off after about 1-3 weeks. Signs of redness, peeling and scabbing are all indicators of successful treatment. PDT heals quickly without scarring; the appearance after treatment is usually very good.

How many treatments will I need?

For sun-damage we recommend one PDT treatment though some people may require a second or even third depending on the degree of the damage. However, we do recommend a course of fotofacials (3-5 treatments, monthly) for optimum results.

Is it safe?

PDT treatment is very safe. ALA is a natural occurring amino acid found in humans throughout the body. Although it causes a very red face in the first week, there are no systemic side effects and no scarring.

IPL treatment is also a safe treatment. There are some risks involved, though rare, including blistering, prolonged redness and hyper/hypo pigmentation.

These will all be fully explained to you during your consultation. Phone the clinic for an appointment and further explanation and to see whether you are suitable.

Talk to us today!

Please make an appointment with our Doctor or Registered Nurses so your pigment or other concern can be assessed and possible treatment strategies explained.