Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
Wearing daily sunscreen is one of the most important actions any person can take to prevent unnecessary premature ageing of the skin, as well as skin cancer. A recent study in America showed that whilst 35% of women use sunscreen regularly, only about 10% of men do the same. Men may have tougher, thicker skin than women, but the accumulation of UV exposure (especially in fair skintypes) leads to just as much skin cancer as women.
Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with 2 in every 3 people diagnosed with some form of skin cancer at some time in their life.
Fortunately, the vast majority of these non-melanoma skin cancers aren’t life threatening, but they can result in substantial disfigurement especially if surgical excision of lesions on the face has occurred. Since most people don’t just get one skin cancer, the cumulative effect of multiple excisions can really create severe cosmetic disfigurement, and as you can well imagine, with that comes sometimes devastating psychological sequelae.
So, it’s a really great idea to protect your skin from sun damage isn’t it?!
Your initial consultation with Dr Kraft will almost certainly include a detailed review of your current sun protection routine, so please bring along your current sunscreen so that we can see if it is actually protecting you as much as you think it is.
The use of PDT
Photodynamic therapy is characterised by the application of a product, called 5-ALA and its interaction within cells with oxygen and light.
The 5-ALA is applied to the skin surface, where is undergoes a reaction in the cells. This reaction produces a compound called a photosensitiser. This photosensitiser then works within the cells, when light of a specific wavelength is applied. ALA causes the skin cells to become more sensitive and when a certain type of light is applied it makes the cells slough off and die. After these damaged cells have been destroyed, new, healthy cells begin to form.
These damaged cells come from solar, or sun damage. Prolonged periods in sunlight with no protection can lead to uneven, blotchy skin. If left untreated, these “sun-spots” can have far more dangerous repercussions.
What type of skin conditions can be treated with PDT?
- Cystic acne , acne vulgaris and generally oily skin
- Hypertrophic Lesions
- Uneven skin tone
- Large pores
- Fine lines
What you need to know about PDT?
Photosensitivity: After the treatment, you will be sensitive to light for a period of 24-48 hours. If you go into the sun during this period, you will experience the feeling of an amplified PDT treatment. During this time, the sun should be avoided.
Downtime: You will have a period where the treated area will be quite red and then will start to peel. This depends on the severity of the treatment. Everyone should be aware that there is a period of 1-3 days where you will appear very sunburnt – but don’t worry: this means a good result!
Peeling and scabbing: You will experience peeling and possibly slight scabbing in the treated area. This is not a side-effect, it’s an EFFECT! This is a vital part of the treatment and necessary for the regeneration of new, healthy skin on the treated area. If you experience greater scabbing than normal, that means that you had more sun-damage and it is being corrected.
Side-Effects: Tingling or burning at the therapy site, mild swelling for 1-2 days, photosensitivity lasting up to 48 hours.