Levulan Photodynamic Treatment
What is Levulan Photodynamic Treatment?
Levulan (Aminolevulinic Acid 20%) is a naturally occurring photosensitizing compound which has been approved by the FDA to treat pre-cancerous skin lesions called Keratoses. Levulan is applied to the skin and subsequently “activated” by specific wavelengths of light. This process of activating Levulan with light is termed Photodynamic Therapy. Pre-cancerous lesions are treated with this therapy. The improvement of other skin conditions (other than Actinic Keratoses) is considered an “off label” use of Levulan.
How does “Blue Light” work?
In our office, a medication called Levulan is applied to the area of sun damage (actinic keratoses). After one hour, the solution is absorbed by the damaged cells. The area is then exposed to the Blue Light, which causes a chemical reaction destroying the cells. After the damaged cells are destroyed, healthy new cells replace them.
What happens after a Blue Light treatment?
The Levulan that was applied to your skin in the office is still active for 48 hours after the initial application. Any exposure to sunlight (even through a window) will cause inflammation and irritation. For this reason, you cannot participate in any outdoor activities (golf, tennis, walking, ect) for two days following the procedure. You should wear sunscreen, a hat and protective clothing even when inside, for two days after the procedure. Although the results will vary, most people experience redness and mild peeling for up to ten days following the procedure. Excessive redness, swelling or crusting will occur if the post procedure instructions are not followed.
When should I schedule Blue Light?
The Blue Light should be scheduled at a time when you do not have outdoor activities planned for two days. Also, it should not be scheduled less than 10 days before a special event, as there will be some redness.
How do I prepare for Blue Light?
On the day of the procedure, come to our office without moisturizer, sunscreen or makeup. Please bring a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater with you. If you do not bring sunscreen, you will need to purchase one from our office. Please bring a book, crossword puzzle, magazine or other diversion as there will be a one hour wait after Levulan is applied.
Do Blue Light treatments replace liquid nitrogen, Efudex, Carac and Aldara?
Blue Light will hopefully minimize the need for these other treatments . However, they may still be necessary for thicker lesions or stubborn areas.