Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is also known as Blue Light Therapy.

Is the skin on scalp, face, and ears scaly?
Have you accumulated years of sun damage that you feel is irreversible?

If so, you may have actinic keratoses (AK) which are a precursor for squamous cell carcinoma.

They are best detected by feel as they are rough patches, although some patients have reported a feeling of irritation. These lesions should be treated if they are detected as it is simple. They can be frozen with cryotherapy, treated with a topical chemotherapy cream, or treated with PDT, or blue light therapy.

This will be discussed with your provider to determine which treatment works best for you.

PDT is fitting for a patient if they are not looking to fill a prescription and remember to then use it.

Also, skin irritation usually resolves in about one week so there is little downtime. A topical solution is applied to the desired area(s) of treatment, whether it be the scalp, face, or ears. The patient then waits the directed amount of time, ranging from one to three hours, before they sit under a light for 17 minutes which activates the solution that targets and treats the AK’s.

After the treatment is over, the patient is advised to avoid sunlight for 48 hours as the chemical could be reactivated. Sunscreen is key to use.

It is not uncommon that a patient experiences redness, scaling, and crusting of the treated skin. This will resolve within one week and your skin will be smoother.

Further sun protection is highly recommended as new AK’s can regrow with sun exposure. Some patients may only require one treatment while others may need it for maintenance. This will be determined by your provider. If you are looking to smooth your skin and attempt to erase the damage caused by your sun exposure, it may be time to discuss PDT.