What Is Photodynamic Light Therapy?

Photodynamic light therapy is also known as blue light therapy. It can be used to treat a number of skin concerns, including sun damage and skin cancer. Here are four things you should know about blue light treatments:

1. They have cosmetic applications.

Blue light therapy can reduce acne. If you've tried over-the-counter and prescription topical treatments without results, blue light therapy might be the procedure you need. The treatment won't feel like anything in particular, which means you shouldn't expect to feel any pain. You'll need to sit or lie still so the blue light can saturate your skin for the full length of your treatment. You can expect the entire procedure to take about half an hour. Most people see a reduction in acne within a few weeks with regular treatment.

2. They can be used to treat skin cancer.

Blue light therapy can also be used to treat skin cancer. If your skin cancer is located on the surface of your skin, you are a good candidate for light therapy. People with skin cancer deep beneath their skin and those with metastatic cancer can't benefit from light therapy since the blue light needs to be able to reach the cancerous lesions in order to do its job. If your dermatologist believes photodynamic light therapy is a good treatment for you, they will prescribe medication that you'll take before your treatment. This medication will make your skin more photosensitive, which will increase the efficacy of the treatment.

3. They can prevent the need for surgery.

Blue light therapy can eradicate your skin cancer, preventing the need for surgery. Whenever possible, noninvasive methods should be chosen for cancer treatment since they lower the risk of developing an infection. Choosing blue light therapy instead of surgery also means you won't have to deal with scarring, which is great news for anyone dealing with facial skin cancer.

4. They may make you more sensitive to light for a few weeks.

Since photodynamic light therapy involves photosensitizing drugs, you will likely notice increased sensitivity to light as a side effect. Fortunately, this side effect should resolve within a few weeks. In the meantime, you'll need to adjust your plans and clothing accordingly. For several weeks after your blue light treatment, you should try to stay out of direct sunlight as much as possible. When you go outside, wear sunscreen, sunglasses, long-sleeve shirts, and other protective clothing to prevent sunburn and discomfort.