PDT combines the use of a topical solution, ALA (aminolevulinic acid) and blue light exposure to treat common skin lesions and acne. The blue light “turns on” the ALA solution that is applied to the skin for a specified amount of time. It was originally developed (here in Kingston in the 1970’s) to treat skin cancer and pre-cancerous lesions and we still use it today for this. PDT is also an excellent alternative for moderate to severe acne or acne scarring in those who don’t want to take medications such as antibiotics or Accutane. We can also use it for improving lines and wrinkles, large pores and benign skin lesions that develop as we age.
ALA is applied to the skin, usually on the face, for an average of one to two hours. The sun-damaged skin, pre-cancerous and acne lesions preferentially absorb the ALA. Then blue or red light exposure for several minutes is used to activate the ALA in the top layers of the skin. Depending on the exposure times of the ALA and the light, downtime can be minimal or up to a week. PDT can also be used to improve fine lines, wrinkles and other texture issues.