Accessibility Tools
  • The most popular option that we recommend to most of our patients with Aks is Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a treatment used mainly for the treatment of skin pre-cancers (called Actinic Keratosis) and has FDA approval for the treatment of these rapidly dividing skin pre-cancers. It is also commonly used off-label for facial skin rejuvenation, as well as the treatment of mild to moderate acne.
  • PDT utilizes Levulan (Aminolevulinic acid), a naturally occurring photosensitizing compound, to create a photochemical reaction that selectively destroys cancer cells. Levulan is applied to the skin and is subsequently “activated” by specific wavelengths of light.
  • The treatment of wide-spread skin pre-cancers with PDT occurs in three main stages. First, the Levulan medication is applied to the treatment area and is left on the skin anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour. This allows for the medication to penetrate into the pre-cancer cells. The next step is placing the light over the treatment area to ‘activate’ the medication. The light shines on the area from either 10-30 minutes depending on your incubation time. Lastly, a topical steroid and sunscreen is applied to help calm the skin. Typically patients treat the same area twice spaced one month apart to get the optimal treatment.

PDT Home Care Instructions

Day of Treatment

  1. You may apply an ice pack or cool water to the treated areas if needed. This will help keep the area cool and alleviate any discomfort as well as help keep swelling down.
  2. Use Advil or Tylenol for discomfort if needed.
  3. Protect yourself from the sun! Use a wide brimmed hat and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater. Your skin will be VERY sensitive to the light for 48 hours. Stay indoors with as little light exposure as possible. You may leave the house after 48 hours. Make sure you are applying sunscreen frequently during your healing process.

Day 2-7

  1. You may shower the day after your treatment. Continue with steps above. The discomfort usually subsides between 48-72 hours following the treatment.
  2. If blisters form, you should soak the areas with a solution of 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and 1 cup of cold water. Ice should be applied directly over vinegar soaks. Soak for 20 min. Pat the area dry and apply the  Calming Cream from our office, (or Aquaphor and Hydrocortisone). Follow this step every 4-6 hours during the hours you are awake.
  3. Re-apply Aquaphor or Calming Cream as needed. The treated area will be dry and tight. Keep using moisturizer to help hydrate your skin.

Day 7-14

  1. You may begin using make-up or shaving once the crusting, if any, has healed. This usually occurs 5-10 days following the treatment.
  2. Avoid getting any sun 2 weeks after the treatment. The treated area will be very photosensitive to sun exposure and pigment changes may occur. Re-apply your sunscreen at least 2 times a day.
  3. Your skin may be red for up to 2 weeks. Please call our office if.