Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses a laser or other light source in combination with a topical medication called aminolevulinic acid (ALA) to treat resistant acne.

The ALA medication is applied to the skin 30 or 40 minutes before the skin is exposed to the light source. This waiting time allows the medication to "soak into" the sebaceous glands. These sebaceous glands that produce oil ("sebum") and are the site of acne lesions.

Once the ALA has penetrated the skin, a specialized light (diode, IPL) or laser is passed over the skin. There it triggers a reaction by the medication that kills the bacteria (p. acnes) and shrinks the sebaceous gland for long-term reduction in acne lesion.

Photodynamic therapy is used to treat a variety of skin conditions that do not respond to other treatments.


This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your personal medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional.

Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns.

Be sure to follow specific instructions given to you by your physician or health care professional.

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