From blotchiness to psoriasis to skin cancer concerns, the winter season can greatly exacerbate different skin concerns, causing flare ups and other issues. But a revolutionary treatment called photodynamic therapy (PDT) can help. Read on to find out more about this therapy and how it treats some of the most common skin concerns.
Photodynamic therapy is a highly targeted medical and cosmetic treatment used in dermatology and laser surgery centers around the globe. Like laser therapy or light therapy, PDT uses light energy to destroy problematic skin cells. The difference is that PDT only destroys these problematic cells, rather than exposing the entire surface of the skin to light energy, which can cause unpleasant or even damaging side effects.
The photodynamic therapy treatment occurs in two steps. First, a photosensitive drug is applied to the skin. Then, the photodynamic therapy light is applied to the area, activating the drug. The drug works by attacking abnormal skin cells while leaving normal skin cells alive and intact. This precision makes PDT a popular choice for effective treatments that cause few to no related issues.
Photodynamic therapy can treat a variety of different skin concerns. It’s primarily used for improving skin concerns related to sun damage, including skin cancers and precancerous growths. It can help with actinic keratoses (a precancerous skin concern that causes scaly patches) and actinic cheilitis (chronically chapped lips.)
Photodynamic therapy can also treat skin concerns unrelated to cancer or sun exposure. It’s been shown to improve rosacea, inflammatory acne, and psoriasis. These conditions can become particularly bothersome in dry, cold winter air, so PDT is a good option for this particular season.
First, it’s important to choose a reputable dermatology and laser surgery center for all cosmetic treatments. By working with a knowledgeable and credible professional, you minimize your risk of exposure to harmful or unregulated therapies. Once your specialist confirms that photodynamic therapy is a good option for you, you’ll learn exactly what you need to do in order to prepare for the procedure. Usually, you’ll simply need to show up for your appointment with clean skin, free of makeup or moisturizers.
There are minimal side effects with PDT, and the entire therapy usually involves only a few sessions. It’s critical that you avoid exposure to sun or artificial UV light for at least 36 hours after treatment since the photosensitive drug will still be active in your system. You may experience some mild redness or peeling in the treated area, but this will go away within a couple of days.
If you’re in the greater Washington D.C. area and struggling with skin cancer concerns or any of the different skin concerns mentioned above, reach out to the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery for an appointment. We can discuss your options and see if photodynamic therapy is the right choice for you.