Treat Skin Conditions with Light-Activated Medications in Denver

Dr. Joel Cohen and the AboutSkin Dermatology team have actively used photodynamic therapy in Denver for years. Not only have they applied it to great effect to treat a range of medical dermatology conditions, but they have also been heavily involved with clinical trials involving the innovative technology.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a two-part treatment. First, a photo-reactive drug, known as a photosensitizing compound, is applied topically, covering the treatment area. The compound is left to absorb into the skin for a set amount of time, depending on the condition being treated. Second, the compound is exposed to light made up of specific wavelengths, typically in the blue range. This “activates” the compound, causing it to kill the cells in the treatment area.

What Can Photodynamic Therapy Treat?

Because of the way the light-activated photosynthesizing compound works, photodynamic therapy is especially effective on lesions known as actinic keratoses. These are considered to be “pre-cancerous” lesions that form in areas that have experienced significant cumulative sun exposure and damage. Once activated, the photosynthesizing compound kills the cells that make up the lesion.

AboutSkin was part of the trial that successfully explored photodynamic therapy as a treatment for superficial basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. Known as BCC, this cancer grows slowly, but early detection and rapid treatment are still imperative. If left undiagnosed and untreated, BCC can grow beyond the skin, impacting muscle tissue, nearby nerves, and underlying bones.

Photodynamic therapy can also be used to treat acne, because the activated compound kills the P. acnes bacteria responsible for flare-ups of comedones (whiteheads and blackheads), papules, pustules, and more severe nodes and cysts. For patients seeking rejuvenated skin for cosmetic reasons, photodynamic therapy can be used in conjunction with other light therapies.

What PDT Treatments Are Available?

Ameluz is an aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride gel activated by both BLU-U® and BF-RhodoLED® lamp to treat mildly to moderately severe actinic keratoses on the face, scalp, arms, and chest. The wavelength used for this treatment is either the blue or the red portion of the spectrum, depending on the severity of disease.

Skin treated with photodynamic therapy is especially sensitive to subsequent sun exposure. Patients should avoid ultraviolet radiation for at least 48 hours following a treatment session. The treated skin may redden, itch, scale, and form a crust. These side effects typically last for up to four days, though they may persist for one or two weeks or longer.

After the crusts flake away, the underlying skin should appear and feel smooth.

Arrange a Consultation

Because photodynamic therapy is a powerful solution to several medical and cosmetic problems, it is important to meet with a Board-Certified Dermatologist to determine whether the treatment is ideal for a given condition. The treatment should be administered only by a trained and experienced medical professional. Contact AboutSkin Dermatology to discuss any skin concerns and arrange for a consultation to find an effective and safe solution.

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