Photodynamic therapy (PDT), a non-surgical treatment for ageing skin and acne, uses a combination of clear liquid and light to produce astonishing results. This virtually pain-free treatment tackles sunspots, lines, wrinkles and dilated capillaries.

For those coming out of their late teens, photodynamic therapy also reduces the mild, moderate and even severe scarring caused by acne.

What is photodynamic therapy?

Cosmetically, photodynamic therapy combats the signs of ageing in the skin, particularly lines and wrinkles. Practitioners also use PDT to treat sun damage, acne, rosacea and sebaceous hyperplasia. While the treatment also receives widespread acclaim for its curative and preventative impact on the early signs of skin cancer, the cosmetic results achieved from just one or two sessions of photodynamic therapy deserve discussion.

Research undertaken by clinics suggests that 94% of all patients notice a significant reduction in the texture of fine lines and wrinkles, and success in the treatment of sunspots, acne, dilated facial veins, skin redness, oversized pores and rosacea after a PDT treatment.

Photodynamic therapy explained

Practitioners apply 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA), a natural enzyme, to the skin. The cells, the sebaceous glands and the bacteria that cause acne selectively absorb 5-ALA. At specific light wavelengths, oxygen in the skin cells reacts with 5-ALA. In its agitated state, the enzyme physically combats unhealthy cells to leave the skin looking firm, tight and youthful. 5-ALA also reduces blotchiness, redness, sun damage and the effects of acne.

The photodynamic therapy treatment is simple, and includes the following steps:

• Practitioners use microdermabrasion and peels for exfoliating the top cell layer. This pre-treatment accelerates the process and the impact of 5-ALA
• Degreasing of the skin takes place using acetone
• After applying 5-ALA to the affected area, the patient relaxes for between 30 to 90 minutes. This gives the enzymes plenty of time to incubate
• Following incubation, the practitioner actives 5-ALA using specified light wavelengths for approximately 15 minutes, sometimes at different settings for greater effect
• Following the pain-free treatment, patients go home. The feeling of photodynamic therapy after a treatment is very similar to a mild case of sunburn

Following a photodynamic therapy treatment, unhealthy cells flake or peel to reveal the healthy new skin underneath. PDT is completely non-invasive, does not leave scarring and has more effect than invasive surgery treatments, freezing and topical creams.

Photodynamic therapy is a proven treatment for the conditions below:

• Sunspots and sun damage
• Skin tone and skin texture issues
• Fine lines and wrinkles
• Sebaceous hyperplasia
• Acne and acne scarring
• Pore size reduction
• Rosacea and dilated capillaries

This treatment is offered by our non-surgical cosmetic clinic, Bristol Aesthetics. You can read more about photodynamic therapy on their website.