Acne has been treated with Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) for many years; this is a mainstay of our acne treatment regimen at the Clear Clinic. Success in treating acne with PDT has been well-documented clinically. Our experiences back this up; our patients who undergo PDT for acne see fast and effective results after just a few treatments. However, until recently, studies had not proven that PDT was a superior treatment to the LED light (that is used to activate the medicine in PDT) alone. Dr. Schweiger explains that, “A recent study compared Photodynamic Therapy to LED light alone and found that Photodynamic Therapy was more effective at treating acne than simply LED light. The combination of a photosensitizing medication and LED light to activate it was a much more effective acne treatment than only light.”
PDT works by using LED light to activate a photosensitizing medication called aminolevulinic acid (or ALA.) The ALA is applied to the skin and allowed to absorb for a set amount of time. After absorption, our patients lay under a blue LED light for 5-30 minutes. The light activates the ALA and allows the effects of the LED light to be more dramatic. LED light can be anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, but only PDT decreases sebaceous gland activity, which therefore decreases sebum production in the pores. Excess sebum attracts p. acnes bacteria, so this process not only kills p. acnes bacteria, but takes away the excess sebum that p. acnes bacteria thrives on.