WHAT IS LASER DYNAMIC THERAPY?
Laser Dynamic Therapy (LDT)is used in dermatology for the treatment of sun-damage and acne. Similar to photodynamic therapy, LDT uses a light-sensitive medication like aminolevulinic acid in conjunction with pulsed dye laser to improve the health of the skin. The medication is applied topically and allowed to “incubate” on the skin for a specific time period, then activated by the laser. LDT can be used on the face, scalp, neck, chest or anywhere that has sun-damage or acne. This is a popular preventative treatment recommended for patients with a history of excessive sun exposure including pre-cancerous spots or previous skin cancer like basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR LDT?
Good candidates for LDT are concerned about past sun exposure and the negative effects on the skin. It is common that visible signs of damage like pigmentation, actinic keratosis indicate sun damage but not always. Skin cancer screening often reveals isolated spots you may not be aware of or even skin cancer but with otherwise healthy-looking skin. In this case, we might recommend LDT to improve the health of your skin or as a preventative treatment.
LDT FOR THE TREATMENT OF ACNE
For patients with acne, LDT can be an alternative therapy for isotretinoin or used in combination with acne medications. Some patients just don’t respond well to traditional acne medications and become frustrated so LDT can help to get skin under control faster. Like photodynamic therapy for acne, topical amulaze is applied then incubated, followed by laser light activation with the VBeam pulsed dye laser. Patients will have less oil production, reduced pore size and improvement in acne because this process kills P.acnes bacteria in the skin.
HOW IS LDT SIMILAR TO PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY?
The main difference is that photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses blue light for activation of the topical medication vs. LDT uses the VBeam Pulsed Dye Laser. The VBeam has some additional benefits for patients with redness in the skin from sun damage, rosacea or spider veins in that it absorbs redness in the skin, breaking down small blood vessels that get reabsorbed back into your body. Another benefit is VBeam tends to have fewer side effects like blistering or discomfort caused by sitting under the blue light.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LASER DYNAMIC THERAPY?
Patients can expect to see some of the following benefits from this treatment:
- Healthier looking skin
- Reduction in pre-cancerous skin cells
- Reduced skin cancer risk
- Reduction in facial redness
- Smaller pores
- Improvement in acne/rosacea
- More even skin tone
WHAT IS THE RECOVERY LIKE?
Most patients take a long weekend to recover and look like they have had a sunburn. Redness and some swelling are the most common side effects in the first few days. Either can be prolonged if you have a longer incubation time and this will be explained to you before your treatment, so you know what to expect. The light-sensitive medication stays in the skin for a period of 24 to 48 hours after the treatment so you will be asked to avoid contact with daylight during this time. The redness will fade quickly over the following days and you will need to wear a sunscreen with a higher SPF with a moisturizer.
LDT AND THULIUM LASER COMBINATION
Some patients have more brown pigmentation and will benefit from having LDT and Thulium laser combination. This is routinely recommended in the office. Thulium is also called Fraxel 1927 and part of Fraxel Dual. Both tackle sun damage only at different depths in the skin making this an ideal treatment. Thulium treats the skin with Fraxel technology creating microscopic columns in the skin, leaving some skin intact while improving pigmentation. Patients then come back two weeks later to have LDT. The light-sensitive medication gets deeper into the skin while it’s still healing from Fraxel Thulium. Then the same process is repeated for LDT.
HOW DO I KNOW IF THIS TREATMENT IS RIGHT FOR ME?
Most patients become familiar with this treatment after coming into the office with concerns about sun damage or acne.