Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a light-based treatment that improves various conditions, such as actinic keratosis and sun damage. Our experienced and board-certified dermatologists offer customized treatment plans for medical spa patients at our Springfield, Westfield, and Longmeadow, Massachusetts, offices.

How Does Photodynamic Therapy Work?

Your dermatologist will first apply aminolevulinic acid (ALA), a photosensitizing agent, to the desired area. Once the solution has been absorbed into the skin, specific wavelengths of light are directed at the treatment area. The photosensitizer turns toxic when activated by the light and selectively destroys abnormal skin cells.

Your treatment can take anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes, depending on the area treated. A course of therapy involves 1 to 3 treatment sessions spaced out over several months.

What Does My Skin Look Like After Treatment?

Most patients experience flaking, peeling, and redness after their PDT treatment. These symptoms will subside in a few days, although they can sometimes last a few weeks. Your skin will be sensitive to light, so it’s important to stay indoors for at least 48 hours after the treatment. You will need to use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when you are ready to go outdoors.

How Long Will My Results Last After PDT?

The longevity of your results will depend on your specific skin condition. If you receive treatment for multiple actinic keratoses, a single course of therapy may eliminate the lesions. However, if your skin has extensive sun damage, there may be lesions that have not surfaced yet, and you may need PDT treatment in the future.

 If you seek treatment to improve cystic acne, you may need regular maintenance treatments.

Skin Concerns That PDT Can Improve

We tailor your photodynamic therapy treatment to treat the following skin conditions at our med spa:

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratoses are rough, scaly lesions on the skin that can lead to skin cancer if not detected and treated early. If you have multiple actinic keratoses or lesions that return after treatment, PDT is an effective treatment option. This treatment targets visible lesions and can treat existing spots of sun damage that haven’t been diagnosed yet.

PDT can improve sun-related fine lines, wrinkles, and blotchy pigmentation. You can improve your skin tone and texture with 2 to 3 PDT treatments spaced 2 to 4 weeks apart. This treatment can also improve certain types of acne, although PDT is typically not covered by insurance when used to treat acne.

Choose a Provider

PDT is an effective treatment option for several skin conditions, including some skin cancers. Our experienced dermatology team can assess your skin condition and determine if PDT is a good treatment option for you. To learn more about PTD at the New England Dermatology & Laser Center or to schedule an appointment at one of our MA offices, call us at (413) 733-9600.

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