Acne Treatment with Photodynamic Therapy – Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide & Gold Coast
Quick facts about Acne treatments with Photodynamic Therapy
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT) acne treatment has been shown to be the only treatment with long term improvements in acne due to the destruction of the oil glands that cause acne.
- PDT acne treatment replicates the natural process that occurs when you sit under the sun. Sun exposure improves acne by activating Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA)
- PDT acne treatment involves the application of ALA onto the skin which is then activated by our omnilux red light.
- Usually 2-4 treatments are needed for optimal results, 2-4 weeks apart.
- The longer you apply the ALA, the longer the downtime with redness and flaking, but this leads to better results.
- Cost starts from $500 per treatment, with packages available.
Looking for the most effective Acne Treatment? Talk to the team at Cosmos Clinic to clear up embarrassing acne problems.
Acne is a common problem for teenagers, but can affect people of all ages. Without an effective acne treatment, active acne can impact on confidence, personal development and self-esteem. Active acne can be treated with a number of acne treatments which are often used in combination with each other as a multimodal approach:
- Skincare: Skincare products containing ingredients such as vitamin A and Alpha hydroxy acids are an essential component of treating acne;
- Peels and Microdermabrasion: These treatments help to clear dead skin cells and can help to prevent blockages;
- Omnilux Treatment: Blue Laser can be used to help clear skin by destroying acne causing bacteria; and
- Photodynamic Therapy (PDT): A highly effective treatment that destroys bacteria and reduces oil glands in the skin.
Acne Treatment with Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is the only acne treatment that has been shown to have long-term benefits by reducing the number of oil glands in the skin. Skincare such as combining vitamin A cream, antibiotics and benzyl peroxide wash has a 50% success rate compared to the 80-90% success rate of PDT. Roaccutane has a slightly higher success rate than PDT but many patients do not want to trial this option given the multitude of side effects. Thirty percent of patients are cured of their acne following one treatment of PDT, 60% are cured after 2 treatments of PDT and 90% are cured after three treatments of PDT.
What is ALA Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)?
You have probably noticed that when you go to the beach in summer your acne improves. The sun is responsible for this improvement by activating a substance called ALA in your oil gland. ALA is produced by the bacteria that causes acne. The activation of the ALA leads to the destruction of the blocked oil gland and the bacteria that causes acne. Photodynamic Therapy amplifies this natural process by artificially increasing the amount of ALA in your skin and then activating the process with simulated UV free sunshine known as Omnilux.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) involves applying a photosensitising cream called Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA) to your skin and then activated by a red or blue light.
How does it work?
The activation of ALA by light leads to:
- The destruction of sebaceous glands. The blockage of these glands is responsible for causing acne;
- The destruction of Propionibacterium Acnes (P. Acnes) – the bacteria that triggers acne;
- Improved texture, tone and complexion of the skin;
- A reduction in pigmentation, pores and fine lines; and
- A progressive reduction in redness with every treatment. The redness and flushing caused by Rosacea and broken capillaries can be reduced by 80 to 90 percent.
These changes make this therapy particularly useful for acne, rosacea, pigmentation (freckles), large pores and photorejuvination of the skin. It can be used for all skin types over the whole body. The use of topical vitamin A and fruit acids prior to the PDT helps with the effectiveness of the treatment.
What does the procedure involve?
The surface layers of dead skin are removed with microdermabrasion and acetone. The ALA cream is applied for 15 minutes to one hour depending on the desired effect and the amount of downtime available to the patient. After the cream is removed the patient is required to lie under a light source for 20 minutes during which a mild tingling sensation may be experienced.
What can I expect after PDT Acne Treatment?
After the procedure, it is important for the patient to avoid the sun where possible, wear sunscreen and a hat. Exposure to the sun will result in a burning sensation on the face (photosensitivity). The face becomes red a few hours after the treatment. The photosensitivity and the redness will last anywhere from two days to two weeks depending on the intensity of the treatment selected by the patient. The greater the intensity, the better the result, but the longer the redness and photosensitivity.
How many PDT Acne Treatments will I need?
At Cosmos Clinic we advise 2-4 mild to moderate PDT treatments at 2 to 4 week intervals to obtain optimal results for acne and photorejuvination. Thirty percent of acne patients improve after one treatment, another thirty percent of acne patients will improve after two treatments and ninety percent of acne patients improve after three treatments.
How soon will I see results?
In most cases, active acne can improve dramatically within 2 weeks and will continue to improve 8 to 10 weeks after the treatment.
After each session, you will experience improvement in your skin tone and texture. There will be a decrease in the overall redness and flushing. Sunspots will fade; pore sizes will shrink. Fine lines and wrinkles will gradually decrease in size as the new collagen forms beneath the skin. These improvements will continue to increase with each treatment.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) can be combined with daily skincare for optimal results.
How long will the results last?
This treatment has been shown to have the potential for long-term improvements in acne due to the destruction of the oil glands. Significant clinical improvement and a decrease in oil production and oil gland size have been shown after PDT.
The results will last for up to two years, in most cases, but may vary from patient to patient.
Are there any problems with Photodynamic Therapy?
There is no risk of scarring with PDT. Some patients have a lively response to PDT and experience marked redness of their skin which will resolve. Temporary swelling may occur with the lips and around the eyes for a few days. Darker pigmented patches, called liver spots, can become temporarily darker and then peel off leaving normal skin. (This usually occurs after seven to ten days).
Who is a suitable candidate for Photodynamic Therapy?
PDT is suitable for all patients with active acne lesions who have not had a response to antibiotic treatments and do not want to commence Roaccutane (due to the numerous side effects).
PDT is an effective and safe treatment for active acne lesions.
Patients with dark skin types are able to be treated with PDT. The risk of hyperpigmentation is small if they are treated appropriately. If hyperpigmentation does occur, it resolves with appropriate treatment in 3-4 months.
Photodynamic Therapy Costs & Prices
Initial Consultation at one of our Cosmetic Clinics in Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide is $120, this cost is fully redeemable towards a procedure when you go ahead. One treatment of PDT costs $575, however discount packages are available.