Blue Light therapy and Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) are both effective therapies for the treatment of acne. However, they are often confused with each other – and for good reason! Blue Light therapy and PDT both use a blue LED light as a major part of the treatment process. So what is the difference between blue light therapy and PDT?
Dr. Schweiger explains that, “Many of our patients ask us ‘how is blue light different than PDT?’ Once we understand how each treatment works, it helps our patients to understand the difference between the two treatments, and why we often recommend a series of treatments including both blue light therapy and PDT.”
Blue Light therapy utilizes a blue LED light, which is focused directly on the skin for a set amount of time. Blue LED light is proven to be antibacterial and to reduce the acne-causing p. acnes bacteria on the skin. Blue light therapy is sometimes combined with red light therapy, with decreases inflammation on the skin.
Photodynamic Therapy, or PDT, uses blue LED light in a different way. A light-sensitizing medication, called aminolevulinic acid, is applied to the skin and allowed to absorb into the follicles. The blue LED light is then used to activate the medication. This process not only kills the acne-causing bacteria, but it decreases excess sebum (oil) production on the skin. PDT is one of the few acne treatments that can actually decrease the activity of the sebaceous glands (the oil producing glands.)