Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a combination treatment of light and a topical medication which together can help to treat a variety of skin diseases including actinic keratosis (pre-cancerous lesions), acne, photoaging, enlarged pores, and some skin cancers. Photodynamic therapy specifically treats the problem skin while leaving normal skin unaffected. Multiple lesions are simultaneously treated at each session and treatment may also prevent the development of new lesions.
In the first step, a topical medication is applied to the skin and is taken up by the targeted cells. The skin is then given time to absorb the medication and turn it into an active light sensitive form. Laser or light source exposure activates the light sensitive compound to decrease the number of targeted cells, such as cancerous, precancerous cells, oil glands or acne causing bacteria. Photodynamic treatments are safe, effective and well tolerated by most patients, but typically care must be taken to avoid exposure to sunlight for 48 hours following the treatment.