Photodynamic therapy is also referred to as blue light therapy. Dermatologists have been successful in warding off actinic keratosis with this therapy. These are scaly bumps that grow in different sizes from one inch to pinhead size. They usually appear in areas where the body has been exposed to the sun including the face, head, forearms, ears, the back of the hands and the lips. If they are not treated, approximately ten percent of these lesions will eventually become squamous cell carcinoma, which is a type of skin cancer.
Photodynamic therapy helps treat actinic keratosis and decreases the amount of precancers. This has the potential to decrease the amount of full fledged skin cancers through photo-rejuvenation. This therapy is also able to treat large areas of skin with minimal discomfort and provides advantages over the other available treatment methods. The majority of people are candidates for this type of therapy including those with diabetes.
Photodynamic therapy originated in Europe. A chemical solution sensitive to the light is applied to the skin requiring treatment. This area is then exposed to blue light. The skin absorbs the photosensitive chemicals which react to the selected wavelength of blue light. The cancerous skin cells or potentially precancerous cells are destroyed by oxygen radicals generated by the procedure.
Photodynamic therapy is a good option for the treatment of actinic keratosis. It is partially preventative and proactive. The people with the highest risks for developing actinic keratosis spend a great deal of time outside and do not wear protective clothing or sunscreen. The additional risks include farmers, individuals with red or blond hair, fair skin and green, gray or blue eyes. Even if the person has a darker complexion, an excess of sun exposure can put them at risk.
The treatment begins when the photosensitizing liquid is applied to the area of the patient’s skin that is affected. The individual remains in a dark room for approximately sixty minutes to enable the liquid to absorb. The affected area then receives seventeen minutes of blue light. During this treatment, the individual must wear protective eye goggles.
It requires around seven days for the treated lesions to heal. There is often a sensitivity to the sun during this period. It is extremely important for the person to wear protective clothing and use sunscreen for the first 24 to 48 hours. If you are interested in photodynamic therapy, consider speaking with the educated staff at Premier Dermatology and Mohs Surgery of Atlanta in Alpharetta, GA. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!