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Also known as blue light treatment, PDT uses a substance called photosensitizer together with a particular wavelength of light to destroy unwanted cells.


  • Actinic keratoses. AKs are irregular rough spots made up of sun-induced precancerous cells.
  • In research centers, some superficial skin cancers are being treated entirely with PDT
  • Ideal for patients who prefer not to undergo the more prolonged topical chemotherapeutic regimens.
  • Inflammatory acne, meaning the pustules, red bumps and cysts (not the whiteheads and blackheads) can show a remarkable response to PDT.


  • The interaction between the photosensitizing agent and the light treatment activates an oxygen molecule that can destroy nearby cells.
  • The Blu-U light is ideal for precancerous cells as they are located more superficially in the skin.
  • The acne process, on the other hand, starts deeper in the follicle and therefore requires a deeper penetrating red light source.


  • The procedure requires three steps: application, incubation and light activation.
  • First the drug is applied to prepped skin in the form of a liquid or a cream. We use both the Kerastick as well as the newer Ameluz product. The drug is allowed to air dry and then incubate from 1 to 3 hours, sometimes overnight, depending on the condition.
  • The skin is then exposed to the appropriate light source. The patient generally feels an intense tingling or heat. The use of a small fan increases the patient’s comfort.
  • In some cases, even daylight may be used as a light source.
  • The treated areas are usually light sensitive for the next 48 hours.
  • Depending on the severity of the condition, more than one session may be required.

Frequently Asked Questions

This revolutionary, corrective procedure involves close-range exposure to fluorescent blue light. PDT Therapy cancels out some of the negative effects that the sun has had on the face by killing off abnormal cells that can potentially lead to cancer.

Depending where on the body you get PDT Therapy, it may be somewhat painful. But the good news is that patients are often given a nerve block to minimize discomfort during the procedure. Research shows this has a major impact on how satisfied patients are with the results.

If this procedure addresses sun damage on the face, the most common side effects are temporary swelling and skin discoloration. You may also experience nausea, hiccups, or temporary difficulty swallowing if you get PDT Therapy on or near the throat. All of these minor symptoms are expected to go away in a few days.

Your skin will remain sensitive to light in the 48 hours following the procedure. So you should stay out of the sun and wear protective clothing (hat, glasses, and a long-sleeved shirt) if you must go outside. The results of PDT Therapy are long-lasting if you remain diligent about minimizing your sun exposure and wearing sunscreen daily.