Acne Dynamic Therapy
Acne is caused by the build-up of cells that block pores. Increased oil production by the sebaceous glands due to hormonal imbalance causes accumulation of oil beneath the blocked pore and creates an environment which the acne causing bacteria are able to thrive in. The acne vulgaris bacteria eventually multiply and cause the surrounding tissue to become inflamed resulting in pimples and cysts. One method of acne treatment is known as Acne Dynamic Therapy (ADT). ADT employs the use of red (Aktilite) and blue (BLU-U) lights with or without a photosensitizing medication. As we know, light penetrates the skin, but the depth of penetration into the skin is dependent on the wavelength of the light itself, the longer the wavelength, the greater the depth of penetration. In ADT, blue light penetrates to the epidermis (417 nm) while red light goes deeper to the dermis (630 nm). At these depths, acne bacteria and sebaceous glands can be targeted. Photosensitizing medication may also be applied to the face during ADT and will become activated by illumination from both blue and red light sources. Through activation, a toxic environment is created which inhibits acne bacteria growth, obstruction of the sebaceous follicle, and reduces sebaceous gland size. ADT is typically used as adjunctive treatment in patients with moderate to severe recalcitrant cystic acne who have not responded to other forms of therapy.
What are the benefits of Acne Dynamic Therapy?
- Fewer acne flares
- Decreased sebaceous hyperplasia
- Decreased oil production
- Safer alternative to oral retinoids
What to expect during and after Acne Dynamic Therapy?
- Multiple treatments are recommended for the best results. Frequency may vary depending on the use of photosensitizing medication.
- During treatment with photosensitizing medication, patients will incubate for 30-180 minutes, then will proceed to light treatment for 8-10 minutes. If no photosensitizing medication is used, light therapy will proceed for 8-16 minutes.
- No downtime is typically seen after light therapy alone; however, if photosensitizing medication is used redness, peeling, and flaking may be expected for 3-5 days post treatment.
- If photosensitizing medication is used, the patient MUST avoid all sunlight and indoor bright light for 48 hours to avoid reactivation. Patients should protect treated areas from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or similar head covering of light-opaque material. Sunscreens will not protect against photosensitivity reactions caused by bright visible light. You must liberally apply physical sun-blocking agents containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for the first 48-72 hours.