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Acne Treatment

Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT) – “PDT puts the brakes on acne”

How is acne treated?
Acne can occur at any age and is caused by the build-up of cells that block the pore openings. Increased oil production by the sebaceous glands due to hormonal imbalance causes accumulation of oil beneath the blocked pore and creates an anaerobic environment which the acne-causing bacteria are able to thrive in. The acne vulgaris bacteria multiply and cause the surrounding tissue to become inflamed resulting in pimples and cysts.

Fortunately, acne can be quite successfully treated with Photodynamic Therapy (PDT).

It is a relatively new and effective medical treatment using a photosensitizing solution, Metvix (16% methyl aminolevulinate). Metvix solution is related to naturally occurring substances in the body.

The photosensitizing solution is activated by illumination from an Aktilite light source (red light, a wavelength of 630 nm.

How does it work?
Metvix, (topical photosensitizer) is applied to the treatment area. After an incubation period of 1-3 hours, it is then activated by Aktilite red light source. The Metvix specifically targets and kills the acne-causing bacteria. It treats both acne vulgaris and hyperplastic sebaceous glands by activating endogenous photosensitizers within the P. Acnes bacteria. This creates a toxic bacteriocidal environment in the sebaceous gland that inhibits the obstruction of the sebaceous follicle and formation of acne lesions. Sebaceous glands will also be reduced in size.

What to expect during treatment?
A light microdermabrasion prepares the skin for the application of the Metvix. The Metvix incubates in the skin for 1-3 hours. After the incubation, it is activated by Aktilite for 8-10 minutes. A BBL (Broad Band Light) treatment may be used before the activation to treat hyperpigmentation and vascular damage. The skin will feel warm and tingle during and after the light activation.

How much downtime?
Slight redness right after the treatment which will increase to that of a sunburn over the next day.

Sensitivity to light will be increased which will necessitate staying indoors for 20 to 48 hours following PDT therapy.

Redness and peeling/flaking of skin up to 3-4 days after treatment.

What areas can be treated?
Face and back.

How many treatments are required?
Most patients’ acne will go into remission after only 2 treatments. Treatments are 1 week apart. A follow-up maintenance program using physician grade products containing salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are recommended to help keep the acne under control. Most results last 1-2 years providing one takes care of their skin.

A consultation with Dr. Andre Kirsten will determine whether PhotoDynamic Therapy –PDT would be best prescribed for your concerns.

Scars that have resulted from acne can be treated by skin resurfacing with a Profractional Laser. This procedure encourages the formation of new collagen and improves the skin elasticity, tone and texture of the damaged skin with minimum downtime.

WH Wellness and Health Centre