'Daylight' Photodynamic Therapy

What is Photodynamic therapy?

Photodynamic therapy or PDT is a special treatment performed with a topical photosensitizing agent called Metvix, which is activated with the correct wavelength of light.  These treatments remove sun damaged pre-cancerous lesions called actinic keratosis.  Sun damage, fine lines and blotchy pigmentation are also improved because of the positive effect of Metvix and the light treatment.  PDT has the unique ability to minimize pores and reduce oil glands, effectively treating stubborn acne and improving the appearance of some acne scarring.

How much improvement can I expect?

The results are variable, and depend on the degree of damage your skin has endured over the years.  However, most patients are happy with the results after just one treatment.

How many treatments will I need?

Typically you will only require one or two treatment sessions.  However, Dr. Poelman may suggest that you have the treatment done on a yearly basis.

What can I expect after the treatment?

Following PDT, the treated areas will appear quite red with peeling for up to one week.  Temporary swelling around the lips and eyes can occur for a few days.  You may also notice that any pigmented areas temporarily darken, and then peel off leaving normal skin behind (this may take up to 10 days to occur).

What happens on the day of treatment?

Your skin will be prepared with a cleansing that allows for better penetration of the medication.  A sunscreen of SPF 30 will be applied to the face followed by Metvix which will then be applied to the area being treated and left in place for 30 minutes.  After the medication has incubated for at least 30 min in the dark, you will be sent home to sit outside in the daylight for 1-2 hours.  Treatment is effective in both sunny weather and cloudy weather, all we require is daylight.  The patient will then return to our office and a special light will be used to finalize the treatment.  After treatment is complete the patient is to gently cleanse off medication.

* It is extremely important to avoid sun exposure to the areas treated with Metvix after treatment for at least 24 hours after your session.  This includes both natural sunlight and bright indoor lights.  Exposure may result in stinging and/or a burning sensation and may result in redness or swelling of the lesions.  You can protect yourself by wearing a wide brimmed hat or similar head covering of light opaque material.  Sunscreens will not protect against photosensitivity reactions caused by visible light.