What is Photodynamic Therapy?
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a type of treatment method that uses of light and special sensitizer to treat a variety of skin conditions.
Having become increasingly popular over the last 10 years, it is now one of the fore-running options to treat common disorders like actinic keratosis, acne vulgaris, and superficial skin cancers. The basis of photodynamic therapy is made up of three components: a photosensitizer, light of varying wavelengths (415 nm blue light, and 633 nm red light), and oxygen. The photosensitizer prepares the skin by allowing the cells to absorb the chemical, which produces free oxygen radicles once exposed to light. These free radicles trigger the cascade of intracellular reactions in target cells, eventually treating skin condition.
PDT is a non-invasive, minimally painful alternative to conventional treatment methods. In the Centre for Medical and Surgical Dermatology, we provide both conventional and daylight PDT. The difference between the two methods is the type of light and light source used to activate the photosensitizer. The Methyl Aminolevulinate (MAL), also known as Metvix, or Aminolevulinic acid HCl, known as Levulan, are our sensitizers of choice. Metvix comes in a cream form and Levulan comes as a solution form which is applied to the area that needs treatment. When sensitizer is applied to the skin, it is accumulated in the highest concentrations in inflammatory, metabolically active and/or neoplastic cells, which is why they are extremely effective in treating these types of skin conditions.