Photodynamic Therapy


Photodynamic Therapy

Manage Your Sun Damage

Actinic keratoses (AKs) are rough-textured, dry, scaly patches on the skin including the face or scalp that can lead to skin cancer. It is important to treat AKs because there is no way to tell when or which lesions will progress to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common form of skin cancer. So, now’s the time to manage your damage!


What do AKs look like?

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Actinic Keratoses generally begin as rough spots of skin that may be easier felt than seen. Common complaints include a lesion that has increased in size or one that is raised, bleeding, poor in healing, discolored, or associated with discomfort such as pain or itching.

While a lesion may initially appear skin colored to pink, red, or brown, lesions on darker skin may be more pigmented. AKs may feel soft, rough, or “gritty,” but in any case, they feel different from the surrounding healthy skin.

Since there are many clinical variants of AKs, it is best to consult a dermatologist if you suspect a lesion.

Before & After


8 Weeks

12 weeks

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a medical treatment that uses a photosensitizing drug that becomes activated by light exposure and a light source.

Photodynamic therapy is currently used in a number of medical fields including dermatology (skin), and cosmetic surgery. In dermatology, Photodynamic therapy combines with the photosensitizer Levulan Kerastick (20% delta-aminolevulinic acid (HCl) to treat pre-skin cancers called actinic keratosis (AK). The initial approval was specifically for normal actinic keratosis of the face and scalp. With a specified 14-18-hour drug incubation time and 1,000 seconds (16 minutes and 40 seconds) of activation by a blue light source, Photodynamic therapy is used to treat many skin conditions.

Some of these include:

  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Skin cancer
  • Cosmetic skin improvement
  • Enlarged sebaceous glands
  • Wrinkles
  • Oily skin
  • Sun damage
  • Rejuvenation or anti-aging
  • Warts
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa
  • Psoriasis



How does it work? 

Levulan Photodynamic Therapy, a 2-part treatment, is unique because it uses a light activated drug therapy to destroy AKs.

Levulan Kerastick Topical Solution is applied to the AK. The solution is then absorbed by the AK cells where it is converted to a chemical that makes the cells extremely sensitive to light. When the AK cells are exposed to the BLU-U Blue Light Illuminator, a reaction occurs which destroys the AK cells.

The 2-part treatment offers the following conveniences:

  • No prescription to fill
  • No daily medication to remember
  • Treatment is administered by a qualified healthcare professional

Levulan PDT can also fit your lifestyle:

  • The 2-part, 2 office visit treatment is completed in less than 24 hours
  • Low downtime*
  • High ratings for cosmetic response (1)
  • No scarring reported to date

*Patients treated with Levulan PDT should avoid exposure of the photosensitized lesions to sunlight or prolonged or intense light for at least 40 hours.

Ask Dr. Lin if LEVULAN KERASTICK and BLU-U PDT is right for you! 

What to expect before, during and after treatment

Before Treatment Starts

  • Be sure to tell your physician if you are taking any oral medications or using any topical prescription or non-prescription products on your face or scalp.
  • Bring adequate sun-protective items with you to your appointments such as a wide-brimmed hat or umbrella.


LevulanTreatment Step 1:  Application of LEVULAN KERASTICK Topical Solution

  • LEVULAN KERASTICK will be uniformly applied to your AK lesions.
  • Your physician will direct you to wait the recommended time in order to allow the solution to penetrate the targeted cells. Then you will return for the second part of your treatment which includes illuminating your treated lesions with the BLU-U® blue light.
  • You should not wash your face in between treatment steps.
  • Avoid exposing the treated lesions to sunlight and other forms of bright light for at least 40 hours. Examples include exam room examination lights, operating room lamps, tanning bed lights, and household lights at close range. Sunscreens will not protect against photosensitivity reactions caused by visible light during this time. Remember to wear light protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat, during this time.

Step 2Treatment Step 2:  BLU-U Treatment

  • Before your BLU-U treatment, gently rinse and pat dry the treated area.
  • Your treatment with the BLU-U will take approximately 17 minutes.
  • Protective eyewear should be worn during your BLU-U treatment.
  • You may experience stinging or burning during your BLU-U treatment, but this should subside between 1 minute and 24 hours after the BLU-U is turned off.

After Treatment

  • You may apply moisturizers as needed.
  • The most common side effects are:
    • Burning/stinging, which could be severe, may last up to 24 hours after your BLU-U treatment
    • Redness and swelling which may last up to 4 weeks after your BLU-U treatment
    • Scaling/crusting which may last up to 4 weeks after your BLU-U treatment

General precaution for sun exposure

  • On a daily basis, always remember to use sunscreen and wear sun protective clothing to shield your skin from the sun’s damaging rays.