New Photodynamic Acne Treatment using Levulan

A new treatment is now available that treats active acne as well as older acne scars leaving your skin smoother. The procedure is called Photodynamic Acne Treatment (PDT) using Levulan. Levulan is a 20 percent solution of aminolevulanic Acid (ALA), which is a natural substance present throughout your body, as it is a precursor for hemoglobin synthesis. Red blood cells, which carry oxygen, could not be produced without ALA in your body.


Levulan is a photosensitizing agent that is applied to your skin and then activated with a specific wavelength of light. Levulan has been used extensively for the treatment of a variety of different skin conditions, and it is approved by the FDA for the treatment of sun-damaged skin.

Why Acne Occurs

Acne results from the obstruction and inflammation of the sebaceous glands, and it affects 80 percent of the human population. Acne typically begins in adolescence with hormonal changes. However, many older individuals suffer from “adult acne.” There are different presentations of acne ranging from comedonal (black- heads and whiteheads), popular, pustular and cystic acne. In many instances, many of these presentations of acne may be simultaneously present.

What About Accutane?

Prior to Photodynamic Acne Treatment, the best available treatment option for cystic acne was Accutane. However, Accutane is associated with numerous systemic side effects, including birth defects, liver abnormalities and mood depression, and virtually all patients get dry- ness and night vision changes. Photodynamic Acne Treatment provides a viable alternative for all types of acne treatments.


What to Expect?

With Photodynamic Acne Treatment, the Levulan, a clear and painless solution, is applied to the skin and left on for approximately 60 minutes. Levulan is then activated with a specific wavelength of light. The Levulan targets active cells, such as the acne sebaceous glands. These cells preferentially absorb Levulan and are targeted by the Levulan once it is activated by the light source — hence the term, photodynamic therapy. The Levulan will also target sebaceous hyperplasia (small 1-3mm benign bumps on your skin) and the papules of acne rosacea. Skin oiliness is deceased, and the appearance of pores is minimized. As a result, the en- tire skin texture improves following the treatment.

Photodynamic Acne Treatment (PDT) can leave the skin red and some areas peeling (possible crusting for pre-cancerous lesions) for several days after treatment. Usually the first day or two are the worst. Pressed, mineral-based make-up will hide most of the redness. Clients are advised to remain in- doors the day following their treatments to avoid sun exposure, as they are photosensitive for about 48 hours after treatment. The advantages of PDT are rapid treatment of acne lesions all over the face without scarring or surgical excision. The skin appears refreshed and younger following these treatments. The Vein and Skin Center of Hawaii advises 2-3 treatments at 2- 3 week intervals to obtain optimal results. There are no systemic side effects.

These Photodynamic Acne Treatments can be combined with our regular photorejuvenation treatments using IPL, which targets redness and brown spots and stimulates formation of more collagen in the skin. Clients can enhance IPL photorejuvenation results by adding Levulan to the treatment process. In addition, the Vein and Skin Center of Hawaii tailors our IPL photorejuvenation to effectively treat Asian ethnic skin types.

The continued goal of The Vein and Skin Center of Hawaii is to provide its clients with the most innovative and effective treatments. The procedures are minimally invasive and require little to no down time. Contact the Center at (808) 735-8346. We look forward to meeting you in our office for a complimentary consultation and treatment.

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