Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is used to treat both actinic keratoses (AKs) and acne. 

Actinic Keratoses

Actinic keratoses are considered to be the first step in the development of skin cancer.  They have the potential to progress to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).  While most AKs remain benign, a study has shown that approximately 10% develop into SCC within an average of 2 years.  Since there is no way to know ahead of time which AKs will develop into SCC, it is very important for individuals with AKs to be under a dermatologist’s care.

In our office, PDT is used in conjunction with Levulan® (aminolevulinic acid HCl) to treat AKs.  It is unique, because it uses a light activated drug therapy to destroy AKs. How does it work?  Levulan® Topical Solution is applied to the AK. The solution is then absorbed by the AK cells where it is converted to a chemical that makes the cells extremely sensitive to light. When the AK cells are exposed to the blue light, a reaction occurs which destroys the AK cells. 


PDT is also a non-drug therapy for mild to moderate inflammatory acne. The blue light that kills the P. acnes bacteria in your skin. PDT acne treatments are gentle and typically well tolerated by patients.