Acne is a stubborn skin condition that forms when sebum (oil produced by the skin) gets trapped within the pores, creating bacteria. Acne can be treated effectively using the breakthrough treatment, Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), which causes the destruction of oil glands that cause acne spots.
You have probably noticed that when you go to the beach in Summer, your acne improves. The sun is responsible for this improvement as it activates a substance called Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA) in your oil glands. 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 sunlight known as Omnilux. It is a great alternative to oral acne treatments that include oral antibiotics, isotretinoin or contraceptive pills.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been proven to be the only treatment with long term improvements in cases of mild acne and severe acne. PDT replicates the natural process that occurs with exposure to sunlight. Sunlight kills acne bacteria by the activation of Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA).
This natural process is replicated by applying Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA) to the skin which is then activated by the Omnilux light. Two to three treatments are required for optimal results, 2 – 4 weeks apart. Longer ALA application results in increased downtime, however leads to better results.
*Results may vary from patient to patient. **All photos are of patients from Cosmos Clinic, and all ‘after’ images are taken 6 weeks post operation.
A multi-modal approach to treating active acne
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 in the treated area.
To obtain optimal results for acne and photorejuvenation, we recommend 2 – 4 mild or moderate PDT treatments at 2 – 4 week intervals. 30% of acne patients improve after 1 treatment, another 30% of acne patients will improve after two treatments and 90% of acne patients improve after three treatments (* Results may vary from patient to patient).
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.
Acne Treatment with PDT treatment prices vary depending on your overall situation and expectations.
Prices start from $575 per treatment for full face
Package discounts available
Initial consultation is between $150 – $220
Active acne can be treated with a number of acne treatments that are often used in combination with each other as a multi-modal approach:
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT): is a highly effective treatment that destroys bacteria and reduces oil glands in the skin. It has been medically proven to reduce acne while simultaneously rejuvenating the skin
Omnilux Treatment: The Blue Laser can be used to help clear skin by destroying acne causing bacteria
Peels and Microdermabrasion: These treatments help to clear the build-up of dead skin cells and prevent blockages that cause acne spots
Skincare: Skincare products containing ingredients such as Vitamin A, Benzoyl Peroxide and Alpha Hydroxy acids (such as Salicylic acid) are an essential component when treating acne-prone skin
Your initial Acne Treatment consultation and subsequent procedure can be undertaken at any one of our cosmetic clinics in Australia.
Shown to have potential for long-term improvements by destroying the oil glands
After the procedure, it is important to avoid the sun where possible, as exposure to the sun will result in a burning, stinging sensation on the face (photosensitivity). The face will become red a few hours after the treatment. Photosensitivity and redness will last anywhere from 2 days – 2 weeks depending on the intensity of the treatment selected by the patient. The greater the intensity, the better the result, but also the longer the redness and photosensitivity will last.
In most cases, active acne can improve dramatically within 2 weeks and will continue to improve 8 – 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. The results will last for up to two years, in most cases, but may vary from patient to patient. 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.
* Results may vary from patient to patient
How does Photodynamic Therapy work?
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) involves applying a photosensitising cream called Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA) to your skin which is then activated by a red or blue light. The activation of ALA, by light, leads to:
Destruction of sebaceous glands: the blockage of these glands is responsible for causing acne
Destruction of Propionibacterium Acnes (P. Acnes), the bacteria that triggers acne
Improved texture, tone and complexion of the skin
Reduction in pigmentation, pores and fine lines
Progressive reduction in redness with every treatment. The redness and flushing caused by Rosacea and broken capillaries can be reduced by 80-90%
These changes make this therapy particularly useful for treating skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, pigmentation (freckles), large pores, as well as to rejuvenate 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 help with the effectiveness of the treatment.
Are there any risks of complications with PDT?
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 within lips and around the eyes for a few days, but the procedure has virtually no pain involved. Darker pigmented patches, called liver spots, can become temporarily darker and then peel off, leaving normal skin (usually occurring after 7 to 10 days).