Acne is the bane of most teenagers at one time or another. Parents and their teens try everything from over-the-counter lotions to prescription medication. At Creative Image Laser Solutions, we think our solution, photodynamic therapy, works the best without any of the side effects.
The causes of acne
Acne. Just the word causes feelings of doom in your teenager. Many people don’t really understand what causes acne. It really comes down to the sebaceous (oil) glands. During puberty, these glands are stimulated by male hormones from the adrenal glands in both boys and girls. The oil normally is simply doing its job of lubricating and protecting the skin, but under certain circumstances, cells close to the surface block the openings of the sebaceous glands, causing an oil buildup underneath. Bacteria, which are everywhere and generally are no problem, become stimulated by the oil and begin to multiply. This causes surrounding tissue to become inflamed.
If the inflammation is close to the surface the result is a pustule; if it is deeper it’s a papule (pimple); even deeper and it’s a cyst. If the oil breaks through to the surface, you develop a whitehead. If the oil interacts with the oxygen in the air, it can change from white to black creating a blackhead.
What is photodynamic therapy?
Photodynamic therapy is a process where a topical medication/sensitizer, (Levulan), is applied to the patient’s skin and is activated by either blue or intense pulsed light. Levulan has aminolevulinic acid (ALA) in it. ALA works to tame the sebaceous glands, decreasing sebum production for up to 12 months.
Before the Levulan is applied the patient has microdermabrasion and an acetone facial wash to help the penetration of the medication. After its application, the patient stays in a darkened room for 30 minutes to two hours to let the Levulan absorb. Next, the Levulan is activated with exposure to either blue light, IPL, or red light, depending on the condition being treated.
Photodynamic therapy has proven to be very successful in treating acne at Creative Image, with a clearance rate of over 85%. It does this by shrinking the sebaceous glands and their sebum production. Photodynamic therapy achieves the same results as Accutane without the expense and possible side effects.
It’s important that the patient severely restrict exposure to sunlight and other bright lights for the first 48 hours after the procedure. Students usually miss a couple days of school following the procedure. There can be some minor discomfort, redness, and swelling.
If your teenager is having trouble with acne, call us at 325-641-1927 and let’s talk about photodynamic therapy.