Red light photodynamic therapy (PDT) isn’t new in the world of skin cancer treatment. Used throughout Europe for decades, red light PDT both prevents and treats skin cancer, all while reversing the signs of aging. Here at home, PDT is just hitting the market in a big way – and we’re the first to introduce the new red-light ALA PDT treatment in the US!
What is PDT?
PDT is a light therapy approved by the FDA for treating the earliest signs of skin cancer, and blue light is approved for the treatment of mild to moderate acne. Red light PDT is used “off label” to treat more severe forms of acne and can have long lasting benefits. Dr. Willey spent the past ten years pioneering the thermal PDT method, which integrates gentle heat before treatment to enhance results – heat activates the photosynthesizing agent, speeding up the wait between application of the agent and the light treatment itself tenfold. While some light treatments are hard on the skin, PDT can be gentler, while still incredibly effective.
How does it work?
A typical treatment will have you rest with a photosynthesizing agent and gentle warming mask on the skin for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on whether we’re treating pre-cancerous cells or acne. (Don’t worry, you can peruse a magazine or watch a movie while you wait!) Once the area is heated, we shine blue- or red-light wavelengths on the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes, and presto! You’re ready to go home and start the process of renewing your skin. One or two treatments is typically all you need for real results.
Blue Light, Red Light! What’s the difference?
We’ve been successfully treating patients with blue-light PDT for decades. Blue-light wavelengths are more superficial, best suited for skin cancer prevention and mild acne, whereas red-light wavelengths are deeper, offering long-lasting treatment of severe acne in as little as one or two treatments as well as skin cancer prevention. Because red light penetrates deeper layers of skin, it remodels collagen as we treat the skin for beautiful cosmetic benefits, too. While we love blue- and red-light PDT for skin cancer prevention, we’ve seen patients benefit from both treatments in more ways than one.
Why Dr. Willey?
Nearly a decade ago, Dr. Willey presented the landmark study showing how cyclic blue-light PDT treatments can prevent skin cancer in high-risk patients. Since then, she has pioneered the techniques of thermal PDT to increase the efficacy of PDT and improve the experience of PDT for patients, so that not just high-risk patients benefit from PDT, but all patients at risk of skin cancer. A nationally recognized expert on PDT, Dr. Willey has published numerous articles, shaping the future of skin cancer prevention and treatment. She lectures on PDT throughout the year, so keep an eye on our upcoming events to hear her speak!
To learn more about thermal PDT and how we can help prevent skin cancer and treat your acne, book a consultation with Dr. Willey today.