Does Blue Light Therapy Have Side Effects
Blue light therapy is generally safe, but its important to consider the potential side effects of blue light used in photodynamic treatment.
Since photodynamic blue light therapy increases the skins sensitivity, skin may swell, turn red, peel, blister or scab after treatment. You also need to take precautions in the two days following a photodynamic skin treatment:
- Stay out of strong, direct light.
- Wear protective clothing.
- Avoid surfaces that may reflect strong light.
As long as you receive your treatment from a trained provider and take the proper precautions, photodynamic blue light therapy should help improve your skin, not damage it.
Drawbacks Of Photodynamic Therapy
The light used in photodynamic therapy cant pass through more than about 1/3-inch of tissue, or 1 centimeter. So, photodynamic therapy can only be used to treat tumors that are on or just under the skin or on the lining of internal organs or cavities.
Because the light cant reach very far into large tumors, photodynamic therapy is less helpful in treating them.
How Photodynamic Therapy Treats Cancer
Photodynamic therapy may also damage blood vessels in the tumor, which prevents it from receiving the blood it needs to keep growing. And, it may trigger the immune system to attack tumor cells, even in other areas of the body.
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What Are Possible Complications Or Side Effects Of Photodynamic Therapy
Overall, most patients tolerate the minor procedure very well without any complications. However, PDT is associated with some possible minor risks and complications. Since an exaggerated light-sensitive reaction is expected by the definition of PDT, most patients understand and expect some type of sunburn or red reaction after skin PDT. Not everyone gets a sunburn reaction, however. Some patients may have no visible reaction or redness.
Possible risks and complications of photodynamic therapy include burning of the treated area, skin discoloration, skin redness, prominent tiny blood vessels , pain, infection, cold-sore activation, blisters, scabs, unsightly scars, cosmetic disfigurement, skin discoloration, eye injury or swelling, allergic reactions, prolonged sun sensitivity, and reaction to topical anesthesia.
Minor, serious, or life-threatening reactions can occur with the use of anesthetics or with medications given before, after, or during a procedure.
What Happens During A Blue Light Treatment Session
The blue light treatment session consists of three steps. During the first step, your dermatologist applies the photosensitizing agent to your skin. This is the medication that makes certain types of skin tissue, such as precancerous lesions, more susceptible to the absorption of light wavelengths used during treatment.
After your dermatologist applies the photosensitizing agent, youll begin the second stage of the treatment process, called the incubation period. During this step, the photosensitizing medication is absorbed into your skin. Depending on the area being treated, this step can take several hours.
Once the compound has been absorbed, blue light is applied. Exposure to blue light causes a reaction in the skin, destroying the targeted skin tissue. The blue light only targets the tissues that absorbed the photosensitizing medication. During blue light exposure, you might feel a mild tingling or burning sensation, but this is only temporary.
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How Does Photodynamic Therapy Work
The procedure involves three steps.
- Application: First, the dermatologist applies aminolevulinic acid , a liquid photosensitizing agent, directly to the affected area of the skin. We’ll usually do one defined region of the skinmaybe both cheeks, or the forehead and nose, or the top of the head, says Dr. Christensen.
- Incubation: Abnormal cells in the skin biochemically convert ALA into a naturally occurring substance called protoporphyrin IX, which is extremely sensitive to light. Most people have a trace amount of this substance in their skin, but it doesnt usually cause any problems, Dr. Christensen says. The dermatologist will determine how long the incubation period should be. The longer the wait, the stronger the effect.
For a patient with a milder condition , Dr. Christensen may start with about 90 minutes of incubation. For more serious cases , the doctor may increase the incubation time to two to four hours. Very rarely, the doctor will apply the medication in the afternoon and ask the patient to return the next morning for treatment.
- Exposure: After the incubation period, the patient sits in front of a U-shaped blue fluorescent lamp, which curves partly around the head from ear to ear for 16 minutes. During light exposure, patients will feel tingling or a mild burning sensation, but that stops as soon as the light is turned off. If the sensation becomes too intense for the patient, the doctor can turn off the light for a few minutes before continuing .
Blue Light Therapy Disadvantages
- Most Blue Light Therapy treatments happen over a span of a month or longer with multiple laser applications. This provides a lengthy process that often leads patients to other faster acting choices.
- The laser light acne treatment procedure does not effectively cure or stop all forms of acne, such as the severe nodulocystic condition.
- Since the Blue Light Therapy actually kills off layers of skin that contain acne, the face often becomes sensitive. Unlike other options, the laser light treatments do take away layers of skin rather than targeting specific problematic regions.
- Several acne light therapy options and studies remain in the research phase. Long term effects remain unknown.
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Blue Light Therapy For Actinic Keratosis
Blue light therapy combines a specially formulated medicine thats activated by a blue light. The light accumulates in your skins cells and starves them of oxygen, stopping the pre-cancer in its tracks. Our team uses it to successfully eradicate pre-cancerous skin lesions.
The simple procedure has three quick steps:
- Applying a light-responsive medical solution
- Exposing your skin to a special blue light
- Moisturizing and protecting with a zinc oxide sunscreen
Depending on the type of medicine we use, there may be an intentional delay of 2-48 hours between the application stage and the light therapy stage. This gives your body time to absorb the light-sensitive medication.
When Is A Mole A Problem
A mole is a benign growth of melanocytes, cells that gives skin its color. Although very few moles become cancer, abnormal or atypical moles can develop into melanoma over time. “Normal” moles can appear flat or raised or may begin flat and become raised over time. The surface is typically smooth. Moles that may have changed into skin cancer are often irregularly shaped, contain many colors, and are larger than the size of a pencil eraser. Most moles develop in youth or young adulthood. It’s unusual to acquire a mole in the adult years.
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Are There Any Side Effects Or Negative Reactions
In traditional light therapy, the main concern in relation to side effects has been the potential impact of long-term or repeated exposure to ultra violet light. In blue light therapy, the light that is used does not contain ultra violet light so that this is no longer a risk.
When blue light therapy is used to treat sleep disorders, it is thought that there is some risk that the patient may experience side effects such as jumpiness or jitteriness, headaches, and nausea.
Skin Conditions You Can Cure With Blue Light Therapy
It is stating the obvious that sunshine and natural light are essential to our well-being. But with our busy, modern lifestyles, many of are simply not getting the benefits of the right type of light at the right times. This undoubtedly impacts our fitness, our health, and our energy levels.
In recent years, there have been fantastic advances in the field of Light Therapy .
Light Therapy involves the controlled exposure of daylight or specific wavelengths of light to a patient. A specific type of light is administered for a prescribed amount of time and at specific times of the day.
One of the exciting developments in the field of light therapy has been “Blue Light”. Blue Light treatments use a narrow-band of high-intensity blue light that does not contain ultraviolet light. It’s unlike other light therapies that use ultraviolet light which can be damage your skin.
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Does Photodynamic Therapy Help Wrinkles
While photodynamic therapy is most well known for cancer and pre-cancer treatments, research has begun to emerge that PDT can also be used for cosmetic purposes. According to a study done by Wolfgang Philipp-Dormston , the PDT treatment also works to eliminate fine lines and wrinkles in the treatment area and to improved skin texture. The implications suggest that PDT treatment could be a useful procedure in the lineup of treatments to reverse signs of the natural aging process. Dr. Green is very experienced in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in her NYC dermatology office. If you are feeling self-conscious about the signs of aging, there are many non-invasive, safe, and effective options available and you can make a consultation appointment with Dr. Green today.
How Effective Is Blue Light Therapy For Acne
Blue light therapy for acne works by penetrating deep into your pores to kill acne-causing bacteria. Photodynamic therapy can treat active acne and also prevents outbreaks from occurring in the future. Once the bacteria that causes acne is destroyed, active acne lesions clear up. The treatment also has anti-inflammatory benefits, can reduce the size of the sebaceous glands, and can diminish the appearance of acne scars.
Blue light for acne is appropriate for all areas of the body and is the most effective in the treatment of mild to moderate acne. Treatment is typically administered every two to four weeks, and most patients require a series of three to five appointments. The number of treatments needed depends on your skin type and the severity of your acne. During your appointment, your Forefront dermatologist will create a customized treatment plan.
You can expect a noticeable reduction in acne within two to four weeks. Youll need to visit your dermatologist for follow-up visits to maintain your results.
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Sounds Like Magic Does It Really Work
Blue light therapy is used to treat such a wide range of conditions and illnesses that it is difficult to give a clear and definitive answer. With the evidence that we currently have available, there are clear benefits that have been achieved in treating skin conditions such as acne, psoriases, and eczema, and this is the area where most regulatory approvals have been obtained.
There also is a strong belief that blue light therapy can be used for its anti-ageing properties, reducing the appearance of lines or discolouration.
For other types of treatments there seems to be strong indications that blue light therapy is effective when used in conjunction with other forms of treatment, although further clinical trials are required before results are definitive.
Pros And Cons Of Photodynamic Therapy For Skin Cancer
As with any medically significant procedure, carries its own profile of advantages and risks. Many patients and skin care professionals prefer the noninvasive nature of Blu-U light therapy with Levulan, which largely avoids the infection exposure and other complications that may easily arise from other approaches. While understandably popular, patients must also avoid direct sunlight for several days following treatment. This can be inconvenient for some skin cancer patients. Theres also the risk of other types of complications in some patients that do not occur with straightforward skin cancer surgery, so its important to receive your treatment from a dermatologic surgeon who is board-certified and experienced in treating skin cancer.
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Pdt Drugs Approved In The Us To Treat Cancer
Several photosensitizing agents are currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat certain cancers or pre-cancers. Here are two of the most widely used:
- Porfimer sodium is a very widely used and studied photosensitizer. Its activated by red light from a laser. Its approved by the FDA to treat patients with certain kinds of cancers of the esophagus and lung, and is being studies in other types of cancer.
- Aminolevulinic acid is a drug thats put right on the skin. Its used to treat actinic keratosis , a skin condition that can become cancer, and is used only on the face or scalp. A special blue light, rather than laser light, is used to activate this drug.
Researchers are always looking for new PDT drugs, and new ways to give them. PDT is also being combined with other types of treatment, such surgery and radiation therapy. Future possibilities include other combination treatments with PDT drugs, as well as new PDT drugs that can target tumor cells better, can leave normal cells more quickly, and allow the treatment light to penetrate deeper.
What Results Can I Expect
After your PDT session, you may experience some mild side effects such as redness or irritation similar to a mild sunburn. It is important to avoid direct sun exposure for about two days after your visit. Several treatment sessions, spaced 4-6 weeks apart may be needed depending on your particular condition. On average, a series of 2-3 treatments is all it takes to see effective results. If you have any questions during your session or after your visit, our team is happy to help!
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How Are Moles Evaluated
If you find a mole or spot that has any ABCDE’s of melanoma — or one that’s tender, itching, oozing, scaly, doesn’t heal or has redness or swelling beyond the mole — see a doctor. Your doctor may want to remove a tissue sample from the mole and biopsy it. If found to be cancerous, the entire mole and a rim of normal skin around it will be removed and the wound stitched closed. Additional treatment may be needed.
What To Expect From Your First Appointment
Blue light therapy is so quick and easy that it can be performed in a doctors office. Heres what to expect:
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Is Blue Light Therapy Effective For Treating Precancerous Lesions What Areas Of The Body Can Be Treated
Yes, it is! On average Blue Light Therapy eliminates 40% to 75% of Actinic Keratosis per treatment.
At Siperstein, we will often pretreat thicker precancerous lesions to achieve a higher cure rate. The most common areas that we treat are the face, ears, and scalp. Speak to one of our friendly dermatologists if there is another area of the body that you would like to treat.
What Should I Do After Photodynamic Therapy
Following photodynamic therapy, patients should be careful to avoid sun exposure or bright light. PDT can cause increased sensitivity to light and, further, directly sunlight on the treatment area following the procedure can inhibit the healing process. The amount of time that patients remain sensitive to light following the treatment depends on the type of photosensitizing agent used and the area that is being treated. For patients who are receiving photodynamic therapy for skin cancer or actinic keratosis will likely experience photosensitivity for only 48 hours post-treatment. The area treated by the procedure may be red, itchy, and flaky in the days following and, in some more severe cases, can appear blistered. It may feel a bit like a sunburn, however, the side effects will fade after several days on their own.
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Schedule Photodynamic Therapy At Cumberland Skin
Would you like to know more about photodynamic therapy and how it can help you? At Cumberland Skin, our board-certified dermatologists are experts in delivering exceptional photodynamic therapy to treat a variety of conditions.
Schedule your photodynamic therapy in Lebanon, Tennessee, by requesting an appointment online or by calling .
It’s Just Blue Light Can’t I Treat Myself
One of the barriers to using blue light therapy is that it can be quite expensive. Treatments must be administered over an extended period of time and each session could cost around $50 depending on the pricing structure used by your practitioner.
However the technology behind blue light therapy is relatively simple and there are a number of Do It Yourself solutions that could allow you to set up your own in-home treatment for a fraction of the cost of a clinical treatment program.
There are a number of home-use blue light therapy units on the market. They are not the same strength as clinical machines because they dont contain the same number of diode bulbs per square inch as clinical machines.
This means that home units are less effective than clinical units because they are delivering less LED energy and so you will need longer exposure in order to get the same effects that you would get from treatment in a clinical setting.
There is also a further complication with using home units because you may not have the level of control that clinical machines can deliver. For example, if your light is shining at the wrong wavelength then you may not be getting the treatment benefits that you are hoping for.
So before purchasing a home unit, you should ask your dermatologist to recommend one that would be best suited for achieving the results that you are looking for.
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