What Does Blue Light Therapy Treat
There are several applications for blue light therapy. It is frequently used to prevent skin cancer and to treat precancerous and cancerous skin growths. Actinic keratoses is a type of pre-cancer that develops on the skin from years of sun exposure. It appears as rough, scaly patches on the skin that are light, dark tan, red, white, or flesh-toned in color. Blue light treatment is an optimal treatment for anyone with multiple patches since they can all be treated simultaneously.
In addition to treating and preventing skin cancer, blue light treatment is also used to treat sunspots, sun damage, and rosacea. It has also become a popular treatment for those who suffer from acne and want to stop using traditional topical medications and treatments.
What About Insurance Coverage And Costs Of Photodynamic Therapy
Currently, some insurance plans cover the procedure under their provided benefits. However, with the many changes in insurance plans, it is always advisable to contact your insurance carrier prior to scheduling any treatment and confirm your eligibility and benefits.
Insurance benefits vary, and reimbursement depends on what benefits you have contracted for with your insurance company. Currently, Medicare generally typically covers 80% of photodynamic therapy for actinic keratoses. If you have a secondary insurance plan, that may help cover the remaining 20% not covered by Medicare.
Standard commercial or non-Medicare insurances currently generally may cover a large percentage of PDT for actinic kurtosis unless you have to meet an out-of-pocket deductible first. You may want to get to know and understand your insurance benefits before having surgery. In many cases, you may also ask the billing office at the medical center or your insurance coordinator for an approximate estimate of your charges before scheduling the procedure.
What Are The Results
After treatment, patients have a more evenly-toned complexion, a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, and overall younger-looking skin.
Blue Light Therapy is also highly effective in reducing acne lesions, cysts, pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads, and in attaining a generally healthier complexion.
When used to treat actinic keratosis, Blue Light Therapy proactively destroys cells that might turn into skin cancer, preventing the need for surgeries and more invasive treatments down the line.
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How Blue Light Therapy Works
Blue light therapy treatment is usually a very quick process, and is almost always done as an outpatient procedure. The exception to this may be photodynamic therapy on high-risk areas for cancer treatment.
In office, your doctor or skin care specialist will escort you to a darkened room. If theyre using photosynthesizing drugs, theyll apply the medication topically, directly to the area being treated.
If these drugs are being used, the medication may need to be on the skin for a couple of hours up to a couple of days, for the skin to absorb the medication. Regardless of how long its left on, youll be advised to stay out of the sunlight and other bright light, protect your skin, and stay indoors as much as possible while the medication is on.
When your doctor administers the light treatment, theyll give you goggles to wear to protect your eyes, and then theyll apply light to the target area.
Treatment sessions can be anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes long, depending on the area being treated, how large it is, and if a topical medication has been applied. If its just one small area being treated, like a single spot of skin cancer, the affected area will have blue light applied to it for about 17 minutes.
People with depression and depression with a seasonal pattern, may have their own blue light therapy devices at home, which they can use on a daily basis to resolve symptoms.
How Long Does Blu
If you are scheduling a Blu-Light treatment, you should be prepared to stay a while. Depending on the part of the body being treated, treatment can take 2-4 hours. The Blu-Light treatments work by allowing the Levulan® to sit on the skin for a period of time. The amount of time depends on how serious your actinic keratosis is and on which body part. If you are treating acne, it takes considerably less time. Plan to spend about 30 minutes with a Blu-Light specialist.
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How Is Recovery After Photodynamic Therapy
Recovery is usually fairly easy and uneventful. Many patients have mild dryness and a faint to mild sunburn of the treated area. A small percent of patients may have moderate or marked discomfort and a harder recovery because of more skin dryness, redness, or burning.
Some of these patients have had inadvertent sun exposure even as short as a minute or two during their immediate post-treatment time, causing a more severe reaction.
You will want to plan to stay indoors and avoid any sunlight for 24-48 hours as directed by your physician. Overall, you may be able to resume all normal indoor activities the first day.
Most patients are able to their normal activities 24-48 hours after photodynamic therapy. Avoiding direct sunlight for the first 1 to 2 days in crucial to avoiding getting an exuberant response. Your physician will need to let you know what activity precautions are required based on the area and size of your procedure.
What The Experts Really Think
Andrew Birnie, MD, a dermatologist and skin-cancer specialist at the William Harvey and Kent and Canterbury Hospitals in the UK, told the Guardian earlier this year that until more research on blue light is done, the most important thing for people to wear every day is a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Many people still dont realise that UVA can penetrate through glass and is consistent throughout the year, not just in summer, Dr. Birnie told the Guardian. Let me put it this way: if youre sitting in front of a computer all day, and your monitor is next to a window, I think you should be more worried about the window than the computer.
Dr. Elbuluk agrees. We dont have enough data right now to say that blue light from phones and computers is sufficient for causing skin damage and aging in the way that ultraviolet light can, she says. At this time, we need more research to understand how much visible light can contribute to these processes, and how much exposure would be needed to cause these changes.
In other words,;skincare products designed to protect against blue light certainly wont hurt you, but theres not much evidence theyll make a real difference, either. Below, some of our favorite skincare;and makeup products that protect against blue lightplus, they also;deliver other benefits, such as anti-aging, SPF protection, and hydration.
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Am I A Good Candidate For Blue Light Therapy
Blue Light Therapy is a great option for anyone with multiple actinic keratoses on the face, scalp, or ears. Speak to one of our board-certified dermatologists at your next full body skin check to get the process started. We will need to get insurance prior-authorization before scheduling your Blue Light treatment.
Now is a great time to get your blue light treatment done before your social calendar ramps up again! Call us today at 561-364-7774 to schedule your appointment. We look forward to seeing you!
Ask Your Doctor Whether Levulan Kerastick And Blu
The convenience of an in-office treatment:
- A 2-step treatment procedure that can be completed within 24 hours
- Low downtime
- A qualified healthcare professional will administer the treatment
- No prescription to fill
- No daily medication to remember
- Flexible treatment for a range of AKs on face and scalp – Appropriate for either a few or multiple minimally to moderately thick AKs
- Results include:
- Recovery beginning right after your treatment with BlU-U blue light ends
- No scarring reported in clinical trials
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What Does The Skin Look Like After Treatment
The treated area of the skin is usually quite red and may appear to be flaking or peeling, as it would after a mild sunburn. The redness, and perhaps some of the flaking, can last for several days to a week or even two weeks. ;
The area will also be more sensitive to light, so Dr. Christensen;tells patients that they shouldnt let any sunlight or very;bright indoor lights hit the treated area for 48 hours after the procedure. After two days of keeping the area covered and protected from sunlight, you can go back to their normal activitiesof course, using sunblock as needed for outdoor activity, he says. Most patients tolerate the procedure very well, with only moderate downtime.;
Blue Light And Your Skin
Research shows blue light from electronic devices can lead to changes in your skin cells, including cell shrinkage and death. These speed up the aging process. Even exposures as short as 60 minutes can trigger these changes.
Too much blue light could also lead to pigmentation. One study linked blue light exposure to more swelling, redness, and pigment changes in people with darker skin.
Although it can negatively impact your skin when used in certain ways, blue light also has healing properties. In one study, a blue light device was used to treat a patch of psoriasis in people with mild to moderate plaque psoriasis. This was done for 4 weeks and helped ease redness and shrink the patchâs size. There were no serious side effects.
Itâs also been used to treat mild to moderate acne. A study found blue light lowered the number of blackheads, whiteheads, and other acne after 7 days of treatment.
Actinic keratosis is scaly bumps that show up on the face, ears, lips, hands, and other areas of skin exposed to the sun. They sometimes grow into skin cancer. Blue light helps lower the number of these precancerous patches, treating large areas of skin with few side effects.
Prevent Blindness: âYour Sight.â
American Cancer Society: âUltraviolet Radiation.â
Journal of Biomedical Physics and Engineering: âCan Light Emitted from Smartphone Screens and Taking Selfies Cause Premature Aging and Wrinkles?â
Indian Dermatology Online Journal: âVitamin C in Dermatology.â
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Potential Risks And Complications
Blue light therapy on its own, without the photosensitivity drugs added, is safe and has very few risks. The biggest risk is for a potential skin infection if any post-treatment blisters occur and are popped or not cared for.
You shouldnt have blue light therapy if you have a rare condition called porphyria, which is a disorder of the blood that leads to heightened light sensitivity, or if you have allergies to porphyrins. You also shouldnt use this therapy if you have lupus.
Are There Any Risks
The largest risk associated with blue light therapy appears to be the temporarily increased sensitivity to sunlight and sunburn for the first 48 hours after treatment. Because the chemical solution used is light-sensitizing, its important to wear sunscreen and sun-protective clothing, and avoid direct exposure during 48 hours after treatment.
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Is Blue Light Therapy A Cure
The benefits of Blue Light therapy are wide ranging.;It is;used in a whole range of treatments.;
While;clinical trials are still to be completed, the extensive use of light therapy throughout the years gives confidence that Blue Light therapy can play a powerful role in improving our health and well-being.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common uses for Blue Light therapy.
Effective Options For Early Stage Scc
Most squamous cell carcinomas of the skin can be cured when found and treated early. Treatment should happen as soon as possible after diagnosis, since more advanced SCCs of the skin are more difficult to treat and can become dangerous, spreading to local lymph nodes, distant tissues and organs. Find out more about treatment options for advanced or recurring SCCs here.
If youve been diagnosed with an SCC that has not spread, there are several effective treatments that can usually be performed on an outpatient basis. The choices available to you depend on the tumor type, size, location and depth, as well as your age and overall health.
Benefits Of Blue Light Therapy
Our patients elect blue light therapy for actinic keratosis for its many benefits, including that it:
- Is handled on an outpatient basis
- Provides cumulative results over multiple sessions
- Does not damage or scar your skin
- Is cost-effective
- Is painless
In addition, the side effects are minimal. Your skin may be red and may tingle some after your blue light therapy, but serious complications are very rare. Patients who undergo this treatment should steer clear of the sun or bright lights for a few days following the session.
To find out if youre a candidate for blue light therapy to treat actinic keratosis, our Easton or Salisbury offices to book an appointment.
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Will My Insurance Cover Blue Light Therapy Treatments
Whether or not your blue light therapy is covered by insurance will depend on the specific details of your insurance policy. But also on what you are seeking treatment for.
For example, it is more likely that you will have insurance coverage if you are getting blue light therapy for acne rather than if you are receiving blue light therapy for aesthetic purposes such as reducing the appearance of wrinkles on your face.
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What Is Levulan Kerastick And Blu
The LEVULAN KERASTICK for Topical Solution plus blue light illumination using the BLU-U Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy Illuminator is indicated for the treatment of minimally to moderately thick actinic keratoses of the face or scalp.
This is a 2-step treatment designed to treat actinic keratoses lesions on the face or scalp. AKs are precancerous skin changes caused by chronic sun exposure. If untreated, AKs may develop into skin cancer.
What Is The Chance That My Actinic Keratoses Will Recur
While PDT is a very effective treatment, there is a reasonable chance that you may continue to need periodic treatments for actinic keratoses, depending on your individual skin, severity of prior sun damage, and your compulsion to avoid the sun.
Actinic keratoses may recur or a new cancer may develop in the same or adjacent area even after photodynamic therapy or other treatments. Some skin actinic keratoses are more aggressive than others and need additional treatment and closer follow-up.
Sun-damaged skin frequently needs follow-up and possible further treatment. Several studies have shown that photodynamic therapy tends to have a cure rate comparable to the traditional treatment with fluorouracil .
Follow-up appointments with your dermatologist or physician are very important, especially in the first few years after photodynamic therapy. Many patients are seen every 4 to 6 months after their diagnosis of actinic keratoses of the skin.
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Does Blue Light Therapy Cause Macular Degeneration
While clinical finding on this topic have not yet been established, there does not seem to be any evidence to suggest that blue light therapy causes macular degeneration.
However practitioners caution that if you have an existing condition that makes your eyes very sensitive to light, or if you have a family history of macular degeneration, then you should consult with an ophthalmologist before undergoing and blue light therapy.
Effective Options For Early And Advanced Bcc
When detected early, most basal cell carcinomas can be treated and cured. Prompt treatment is vital, because as the tumor grows, it becomes more dangerous and potentially disfiguring, requiring more extensive treatment. Certain rare, aggressive forms can be fatal if not treated promptly.
If youve been diagnosed with a small or early BCC, a number of effective treatments can usually be performed on an outpatient basis, using a local anesthetic with minimal pain. Afterwards, most wounds can heal naturally, leaving minimal scarring.
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What Is Blue Light Therapy
Blue light therapy works with a photosensitizing agent to destroy damaged cells . Therefore, blue light therapy involves two elements to work properly:
1. A photosensitizing molecule that is activated by exposure to light. Its used often as an external skin cream but can also enter the bloodstream via a vein. Depending on the drug, light, and condition, the photosensitizing agent may be left on the skin for anywhere from a few hours to a few days before its properly absorbed.
2. A light source to activate the photosensitizing molecule. A chemical reaction occurs once the light meets the photosensitizing agent.
When You Have It
You might have PDT if you have a;thin non melanoma skin cancer. You might have it to treat:
- some basal cell cancers
- Bowen’s disease
- actinic keratosis
Your doctor might suggest PDT;if surgery could cause changes to your;appearance. So you might have;it if;you have a large skin cancer;that is not too deep. Or if you have;several cancers in an area. Clinical trials have shown that the appearance of the skin;after PDT is better than after surgery.
PDT is not suitable for deep basal cell cancers or squamous cell skin cancers. This is because the light cannot go deeply enough into the skin.
For actinic keratosis you usually have one treatment. For basal cell cancer or Bowens disease you usually have two treatments 7 days apart. This is one cycle of treatment.
Your doctor will tell you whats best for your situation.;
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Is There Pain After Pdt
Typically, there is little pain with PDT. No two individuals are exactly the same, and individual reactions and tolerance to discomfort levels vary. Most patients report mild skin irritation including minimal to mild dryness and tight feeling of their skin after PDT. This discomfort is usually improved with frequent application of bland topical emollients or plain Vaseline.
A small number of patients may actually complain that they felt nothing and didn’t have any pain or peeling. Less commonly, a small percentage of patients for various reasons may have significant pain, a very exaggerated sunburn response, moderate overall discomfort, and pain from the tightness and warmth of the skin.
If there is pain, many patients find that they prefer to take something for pain at the first hint of discomfort instead of waiting until the pain builds up to an unbearable level. If you have mild or moderate pain, your doctor may advise you to take acetaminophen or another pain reliever. Rarely, prescription pain medications may be required for severe pain.
Your physician will let you know what pain medications are recommended for your specific condition.