There are many ways to manage Acne, either in teens or adults. Treatments include specially designed products for cleansing and exfoliating, masques, and prescription medications. There are additional treatments such as Microdermabrasion, Chemical Peels, and Levulan Photodynamic Therapy. All of these are offered at Dr. Lopo’s SkinSolutions. If you have acne and want to explore options for treatment, call for an appointment in Acne Clinic. Most PPO insurances are accepted.
What is Levulan® Photodynamic Therapy?
Levulan® is the brand name for aminolevulinic acid, or ALA. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a light treatment that is used in combination with ALA and known as ‘ALA/PDT treatment’. Levulan® makes the skin more sensitive to activation with the correct wavelength of light. Dr. Lopo uses ALA combined with IPL (Intense Pulsed Light). IPL is believed to be more effective than other light sources. IPL is the same type of light used for photofacials.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) also known as photo-facial, photofacial, and photo rejuvenation is a state-of-the-art system and the latest technique in photofacial therapy. The IPL system delivers high intensity, smooth and powerful pulses of light (not lasers) that greatly enhances the results of your skin rejuvenation. For skin therapy, IPL stimulates new collagen growth resulting in smoother, more even, healthier skin. IPL contains many wavelengths of light energy including ‘blue light’.
What conditions is ALA/ PDT used for?
- Acne: ALA/PDT is a safe and effective alternative for acne, often with dramatic results.
- Sun Damage/Photoaging
- Acne scarring, and
- Age spots (liver spots)
- Enlarged Pores
- Enlarged Oil Glands (Sebaceous Hyperplasia).
- Pigmentation (age spots, liver spots)
- Uneven Skin Texture
How does Levulan Photodynamic therapy work?
When Levulan® Solution is applied to the skin, it the solution is absorbed by the cells and makes them extremely sensitive to light. When the cells are exposed to light of appropriate wavelength and intensity, the medication is activated causing reactions which destroy abnormal cells.
Can anyone be treated with Levulan?
You should not be treated if you have any of these conditions:
- Skin sensitivity to blue light.
- Porphyria (a disorder of the metabolism that can lead to sensitivity to light).
- Allergies to chemicals called porphyrins.
- Sun tan – You must NOT have a tan when you are treated with the ALA/PDT treatment. Treating skin with a tan can produce white “striping” which can take several months to fade.
- Pregnant or nursing.
Does it hurt?
There is some discomfort associated with the treatment. Each pulse of the IPL feels like an elastic band snapping against the skin. To make the treatment more comfortable the IPL machine is equipped with a chilling tip that cools the skin prior to treatment.
What does treatment involve?
The Levulan® (ALA) Solution is applied to the areas to be treated. You wait during the one hour incubation period while the solution penetrates, and then you will receive a Cutera LimeLight® IPL treatment over the treatment area. This step usually takes about 20 minutes to complete.
How many treatments will I need?
For acne, usually 4-8 treatments 2-4 weeks apart. For actinic keratoses, 2-4 treatments 2-4 weeks apart.
How much improvement will there be?
Active acne can improve dramatically. Patients with severe sun damaged skin manifested by actinic keratoses, texture, and tone changes including mottled pigmentation and skin laxity may see excellent results. You may also see improvement of large pores and pitted acne scars.
What will I look like after treatment?
You will have redness and occasionally, mild blistering or bruising of the treated areas lasting from several hours to 3-14 days. This will depend on the sensitivity of your skin and the severity of your condition. Most people are completely healed within 7 days. Some crusting and scabbing is considered a good result. This should resolve within 3-14 days.
There should be some discomfort, but no significant pain.
After 1 week, there might be some residual redness that will subside after a few days and can be covered with makeup.
Make-up may be re-applied immediately after the treatment.
What special care do I need after the treatment?
You MUST remain out of all direct and indirect sunlight, and bright indoor light for the next 48 hours. Sunscreen will not be enough protection! However, use of a higher than SPF 30 sunscreen is essential. Wearing a hat is also an excellent idea
Why consider this treatment?
- Low downtime
- No prescription to fill
- No daily medication to remember
- Excellent cosmetic response
- No scarring reported to date
Is Levulan PDT covered by insurance?
Sometimes it is, depending on the insurance company and the reason for use. Treatment of acne, rosacea and actinic keratoses (precancerous sun spots) may be partially covered if you have private drug insurance. You need to call your insurance company to find out the cost.
Guranteed ExcellenceHere at Dr Lopo Skin Care Solutions, All treatments are performed by Dr. Lopo, not a nurse or tech.