Levulan PDT Acne Therapy

Why Choose SKINLIFE for PDT Levulan Acne Therapy

Skinlife Vancouver has successfully treated many acne patients. Over the years, we have developed a gentle yet effective protocol of using Levulan based on our extensive experience. Our Levulan PDT protocol does not involve much swelling or redness that is often associated with typical Levulan PDT treatments.

 

WHAT IS ACNE?

Acne Skin is a common skin disease that affects most people at some time during their lives. It is characterized by mild acne known as blackheads and whiteheads, semi-severe inflammation acne called papules and pustules, or severe acne known as nodules and cysts. Acne affects the areas of skin with the densest population of oil (or sebum) producing gland called sebaceous gland. The exact underlying causes of acne are not yet fully understood. However, in general, there are three recognized factors for the development of an acne lesion. These factors are: Overgrowth of sebaceous gland called follicular epidermal hyperproliferation; Excess sebum production; Presence of bacteria called P. acne. There are three factors that may independently initiate follicular epidermal hyperproliferation, including excessive production or hypersensitivity to male hormones called androgens, secretion of inflammatory biochemical signals such as IL-1α, and/or decreased content of linoleic acid in sebum. Sebum production is regulated by a number of hormones such as androgens, insulin-like growth factor, growth hormone, and vitamin D3. Increased levels of and/or increased sensitivity to androgens, insulin-like growth factor, growth hormone, and inflammatory signals are thought to cause acne. IL-1α is an inflammation-inducing signal involved in our body’s immune defense against infection. IL-alpha, when administered in skin tissue, causes follicular epidermal hyperproliferation leading to acne. Any low-grade inflammation, such as food sensitivity and mild dysbiosis in gut may cause acne via systemic release of IL-1α. Change in composition of sebum is known to occur prior to onset of acne, notably a decrease in linoleic acid content. Clinical studies have demonstrated that successful retinoid therapy normalizes linoleic acid content in sebum. Traditionally dermatologists believed that there is no causative relationship between diet and acne. Very recently, however, several clinical studies suggest that diet may change composition of sebum (oil) and may reduce the number of acne lesions. P. acne is normal bacteria that is found on healthy skin. It only causes acne when pores are occluded by sebaceous plug. Therefore antibiotic therapy targeting P acne alone is often not long lasting. Acne appears to be a result of the web-like, interconnected nature of physiologic processes, diet, and lifestyle, requiring an integrated therapeutic approach in order to attain the desired clinical results. A successful treatment should address all involved factors.

HOW PDT LEVULAN WORKS

We provide gentler version of typical PDT Levulan Kerastik Photodynamic Acne Therapy for acne control. Levulan Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) can clear acne and shrink enlarged pores by shutting down sebum (oil) production. Over-active sebaceous gland (oil gland) causes excessive oil built-up in the pore and leads to acne and pore enlargement. Levulan is clear liquid medication that contains amino-levulinic acid (ALA). ALA is a naturally occurring substance in our body and is an important part of red blood cells. Once Levulan is applied to the skin, its ALA is metabolically converted to another natural substance called Protoporphryn IX, which accumulates at a higher concentration in sebaceous glands than in the rest of the skin. This process is called ‘incubation’. After appropriate incubation period, the skin is exposed to appropriate light energy, which results in the production of singlet oxygen through a process called photodynamic reaction. Singlet oxygen destroys both sebaceous glands and acne-causing bacteria. While overactive sebaceous glands are destroyed, normal skin is selectively spared from such destruction because Protoporphryn IX builds up at a much lower concentration in the normal skin.

IMPORTANT FACTS
  • What are the advantages of Levulan PDT over other acne treatments?
    Levulan PDT and Accutane (Isotretinoin) are the only treatments that reduce the number of oil glands. As a result, both treatments give the longest remission of acne than any other treatments available today. However, Accutane is associated with unpleasant systemic side effects; thus it is considered to be the last resort. On the other hand, Levulan treatments have mild, temporary skin reactions that are localized to small areas of your skin. Levulan PDT is an attractive Accutane alternative that gives the best results with the least side effects.
  • Is the treatment painful?
    With short incubation time of less than 90 minutes, Levualn PDT is painless.
  • How long is the incubation time?
    Incubation time is adjusted to individual patient’s preference and lifestyle. In general, longer incubation gives the body more time to convert more ALA to Protoporphryn IX. One obvious advantage of longer incubation is improved treatment outcome. Major disadvantage is increased discomfort during the treatment with prolonged redness and swelling of the skin. Recent research suggests that 75 minutes to 120 minutes is the optimum incubation time to selectively target sebaceous glands for the best treatment results while virtually eliminating treatment discomforts and drastically reducing swelling, redness, and peeling. However, certain patients may receive significant treatment benefits with incubation as short as 30 minutes.
  • How long is the treatment process like?
    During the consultation, we will review your medical history and suggest an optimal treatment plan that suits your condition, preference, and lifestyle. Anti-viral medication called Valacyclovir (Valtrex) will be prescribed for you if you have a history of recurrent cold sore or have a history of shingles in the target treatment area. Once Levulan is applied to your skin and is covered by occlusive dressing, you will rest comfortably in a dark room for appropriate length of time (typically 60 to 90 minutes). After the incubation period, depending on the desire effect of treatment, you may be required to rinse your face with soap and water. Levulan is then activated with Omnilux LED phototherapy system and then by IPL. You will be given special eye-protection to wear to protect your eyes during the treatment. After activation of Levulan, you need to rinse your face with soap and water. Levulan reacts with visible spectrum of light, therefore most sunscreen products are ineffective. To properly protect your skin, you need to wear OPAQUE sunscreen containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as MAIN ingredients for the next 48 hours. You should put on a hat, sunglasses, and a mask to protect the skin from the sun as much as possible. You should stay out of the sun and bright light as much as possible for the next 48 hours Proper sun-protection as described is extremely important. The skin may turn red and swollen in the following days and may peel lightly for a few days. You may apply cold compresses or ice packs as needed. Chilled aloe vera gel can be applied to the face as needed. Hydrocortisone cream is rarely needed with Levulan treatments. You should continue to wear sunscreen SPF 30 or above (and PA+++, if available) for minimum of the next 14 days. You may resume normal activity from the first day as long as you adhere to proper sun-protection requirement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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