Blue Light PDT

Blu-U Photodynamic Therapy

  • Living with acne, precancerous sun spots, or scarring due to acne is not a condition that needs to be accepted
  • Blu-U Photofacial light therapy is a treatment that is non-invasive and effective
  • It is used to treat acne, actinic keratoses (prec-cancerous sun spots) as well as sun-damaged skin
  • This procedure is non-invasive and pain free

Almost any area can be treated including:

  • Face
  • Neck
  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Scalp
  • The BLU-U acne light works with all skin types (I-VI) (from pale Caucasian to dark African skin types) and it is just fine if you have a suntan!
  • Blue light photodynamic therapy acts by killing acne causing bacteria, overactive oil glands and premalignant skin cells and precancers

What is Levulan Photodynamic Therapy?

  • Blue Light (Blu U) is combined with a topical medication called Levulan in a procedure known as Levulan Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
  • Photodynamic therapy for acne, precancerous sun spots and other uses, involves the application of Levulan ( 5-aminolevulinic acid), a medication which is then activated with blue light
  • Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is also known as ‘ALA/PDT treatment’
  • ALA/PDT treatment also has the unique ability to reduce oil glands, effectively treating stubborn acne and improving the appearance of some acne scars

What is Blue Light?

  • Blue Light or Blu U is a state-of-the-art system and the latest technique in photofacial therapy
  • The blue light system delivers painless light of blue colour that greatly enhances the results of your skin rejuvenation

What is Levulan?

  • Levulan (5-Amino Levulinic Acid) is a medication that is applied to the skin
  • This medication makes acne-causing bacteria and precancerous sun spots more sensitive to the Blu-U (Blue Light) treatments

Can Levulan Photodynamic therapy be used to treat acne?

  • Yes
  • This results in significant improvement in mild to moderately-severe acne
  • Acne can be treated with topical creams and lotions, birth control pills, antibiotic pills, retinoids, glycolic peels and microdermabrasion
  • Now PDT is another safe and effective alternative available for acne treatment
  • Blu U Levulan Photodynamic acne treatment involves three mechanisms of action against acne
    • Levulan treatment:
      • Inactivates the bacteria that trigger acne
      • Exfoliates the skin to unclog pores
      • Shuts down the oil glands (sebaceous glands) in the skin
    • This can produce long-lasting improvement
  • Levulan acne therapy can even work in patients who have failed prescription pills
  • Results with Levulan PDT are especially impressive when compared with conventional treatments, such as topical medicines and oral antibiotics

How Blu U treats Acne

Can Levulan Photodynamic Therapy be used for skin rejuvenation, precancerous sun spots, improvement of sun damage and skin cancer prevention?

  • Yes
  • Levulan Photodynamic Therapy using Blue Light can be used for non-surgical skin rejuvenation
  • This procedure results in significant improvement in precancerous conditions such as:
    • Actinic keratoses
    • Sun damaged skin
    • Superficial skin cancers
  • Additionally it potentially prevents the development of skin cancer
  • Levulan is revolutionizing how we perform skin rejuvenation and how we treat sun-damaged skin
  • Levulan is preferentially absorbed by precancerous cells
  • When combined with Blue light the Levulan kills the cancer cells, and leaves the normal skin unharmed
  • It is particularly effective for actinic keratoses on the scalp, face, arms and legs
  • It has the added benefit of skin cancer prevention
    • Killing abnormal cells BEFORE they can become a skin cancer
  • Even those people with no obvious sun spots can be treated to prevent skin cancer from developing

What else can Levulan Photodynamic Therapy be used for?

  • Removing precancerous skin lesions
  • Preventing skin cancer
  • Improving skin texture
  • Treating sebaceous hyperplasia (enlarged oil glands)

How safe is it? Are there any side-effects?

  • The BLU-U treatment is very safe
  • The blue-violet light penetrates just deep enough into the tissue to reach the acne target
  • It only affects the P. acnes bacteria, not the normal tissue
  • It contains NO radiation and does not damage the skin itself
  • It has NO risk of causing cancer
  • Even though there is no evidence of complications, we will not perform this treatment if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

How Do I select where I should go for Blue Light (Blu-U) treatment?

  • Unfortunately there are no government regulations as to who can own or operate a Blu-U machine
  • There is no minimal training required by regulatory agencies and virtually anyone who has the capital can purchase a machine and start doing treatments
  • For those reasons, you have to be very careful where you go
  • There are several questions you should ask:
    • Is the clinic a doctor’s office or a spa?
      • Blu-U can be potentially dangerous if not used by well trained technicians
    • How long have they been doing treatments?
    • Is there a doctor?
      • Is the doctor someone who is specialized in skin care and Blue Light therapy such as a dermatologist?
      • Or is the doctor a family doctor? Dentist? Chiropractor?
    • What are the qualifications of the technician who is treating you?
    • What type of Blue Light machine are they using?
    • Who will manage any complications is they should happen to arise?
    • Does the technician do a full and in depth consultation with you to ensure that you understand the pros and cons of treatment, the risks and benefits?
    • Do they take photographs to help monitor improvement?
    • Does a dermatologist check you first to make sure that you are a good candidate for therapy?

How do I prepare for my treatment?

  • The face should be cleansed with soap and water and free of any oil
  • Makeup cannot be worn during the treatment
  • Makeup may be re-applied immediately after the treatment

What is the procedure for Levulan Photodynamic therapy?

  • At your first visit a Blue Light PDT technician will provide a free consultation
  • During the consultation she will discuss the benefits of Blue Light, explain the procedure and benefits to you and answer any questions that you may have
  • Furthermore she will explain how the procedure works and how many treatments you will need, and provide you with a price quote
  • She will also ask you a series of questions to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure and to determine your skin type and sensitivity
  • After your FREE consultation the technician will call in Dr. Vignjevic
    • He will assess your skin type and whether Blue Light would be suitable for you
    • In addition, he will answer any further questions that you may have
    • You cannot be treated by the technician unless you have been assessed by Dr. Vignjevic first
  • If you decide to go ahead with a treatment, photographs will be taken of the treatment area
    • These photographs are strictly for your chart and will not be released or used without your permission
    • Your privacy is of the utmost importance to us
  • You will be asked to wash your face and to remove any makeup
    • It is not necessary to remove mascara, lip stick or lip liner
  • After this, the Photodynamic Therapy technician will initially cleanse the skin
    • She may use microdermabrasion (a fine spray of crystals) to remove dead skin cells and impurities
    • Microdermabrasion prior to treatment improves the penetration and effectiveness of the Levulan
  • When treating precancerous sun spots on the scalp, chest or back, acetone is used to remove skin oils prior to treatment
    • Acetone is not used on the face as it is too irritating for facial skin
  • After the skin is cleansed, Levulan, which is a clear solution, is applied with a cotton tipped applicator
  • Levulan can be applied to treat any area of the body including the face, scalp, chest, back, arms groins and underarms
  • The medication is left to rest on the face and neck for 60 minutes, the chest, back, arms and legs for 180 minutes
    • This application time is termed the incubation period
    • Short incubation times retain efficacy but diminish discomfort and side effects
  • There is normally NO discomfort to the patient with short incubation times and 8-10 minutes of blue light therapy.
  • After the incubation period the Levulan will be activated with Blue Light
    • You will sit comfortably in a chair or lie on an examination bed while the light is applied to the affected area for a period of 8 minutes
    • You can even listen to music while being treated
  • No anaesthetic topical cream is needed prior to the light exposure because the treatment is painless
  • You will be given special goggles to wear to protect your eyes during the treatment
  • During the treatment yout may feel stinging, tingling, prickling, or burning of the lesions, but this should go away after the treatment
  • After treatment with the Blue U, the solution will be washed off the skin using soap and water following the light activation
  • A healing cream is applied to the skin, and then a layer of sunscreen is applied last prior to leaving the office
  • You will be provided with a booklet of after-care instructions and the technician will recommend specific products to take care of your skin after the treatment
  • You will be provided with Dr. Vignjevic’s personal cell phone number should you have any questions or concerns that arise after office hours

What should I expect after my treatment?

  • There will be redness, and occasionally, mild blistering or bruising of the treated areas lasting from several hours to 3-14 days
    • This will depend on the sensitivity of your skin and the severity of your sun damage
  • The treated area might “crust”, “flake”, or look like a “cat scratch”
  • Any areas that become crusted are pre-cancerous areas that have been successfully treated
  • Some crusting and scabbing is considered a good result
    • This should resolve within 3-14 days
  • Most people are completely healed within 7 days
  • Your skin will be more sensitive for a few days up to a couple of weeks after your treatment
  • There should be some discomfort, but no significant pain
  • After 1 week, there might be some residual redness that will subside after a few days and can be covered with make up

Special precautions for 1 week after your treatment:

  • Keep the treated area out of the sun and bright lights for 48 hours
    • Exposure to the sun within this time period can lead to a severe blistering burn in the areas that were treated
  • If outdoor exposure sun is unavoidable, wear a hat with a brim, cover your face with a scarf, wear large sunglasses and use sunscreen
    • Sunscreen alone is NOT ENOUGH PROTECTION to prevent a burn in the first 48 hours after treatment
  • You should continue to use sunscreen daily for at least 4 weeks following treatment regardless of the time of year or if it is overcast or cloudy
    • Sun exposure may lead to the production of blotchy dark pigmentation which may take several months to fade
  • Avoid excessive heat exposure such as saunas, steam rooms, hot showers or baths, and strenuous exercising for 24 hours
    • This prevents the risk of blistering
  • You can return to normal activities immediately after treatment, as long as you avoid bright light and sunlight for 48 hours
  • Avoid any aggressive skin care products such as scrubs, exfoliants, alpha or beta hydroxy acid products
  • Keep clothing from rubbing the treated area and avoid other irritation to the area
  • Do not get hairspray on the treated area
  • Notify the office should you have any prolonged redness, excessive puffiness, or other unusual side effects

Skin Care Regimen – immediately after treatment and between your treatments

  • Specific instructions regarding cleansers, moisturizers and sunscreen use will be provided to you on the day of your treatment

What should a person do if they get significant redness, swelling, or pain after a treatment?

  • Avoid the sun or bright lights as much as possible
  • Call the office where you had your treatment
  • If you are concerned that you have had an abnormal reaction, have a cold sore, or an infection – call your doctor’s office immediately

Who should not have PDT (Levulan Photodynamic Therapy) treatments?

  • You should not be treated if you have:
    • Skin sensitivity to blue light
    • Porphyria (a disorder of the blood that can lead to sensitivity to light)
    • Allergies to chemicals called porphyrins
    • Lupus

Is the cost of Levulan PDT covered by drug insurance?

  • Sometimes
  • Treatment of acne and actinic keratoses (precancerous sun spots) MAY be PARTIALLY covered if you have PRIVATE drug insurance
  • OHIP and regular provincial drug plans do NOT cover the cost of Levulan PDT therapy
  • To see if your private drug insurance will cover a portion of the cost of the treatment , call your insurance company and provide them with the Drug Identification Number (D.I.N.) for Levulan – 02243933
  • They can tell you if it is covered and how to get coverage

How many treatments are required?

  • Typically, treatment sessions are approximately 1 to 2 hours long, once per month
  • Precancerous sun spots (actinic keratoses) require one to 4 treamtents with annual maintenace
  • Acne usually requires 4 to 8 treatments, with maintenance every 4 to 6 months
  • It is important to keep the treatment appointments recommended
  • By following the treatment plan, you’ll see maximum results and enjoy clearer skin

Which aesthetic products or procedures can be combined with Blu-U PDT Treatments?

  • Medical Facials, Microdermabrasion, Chemical Peels, and Mineral Makeup,  can be successfully combined with Blu U Photodynamic Therapy
  • Medical Facials
    • This is a clinical facial, using pharmaceutical grade products by our qualified staff
    • This is a relaxing, enjoyable treatment which leaves the skin silky and hydrated
    • Recommended for:
      • Dehydration
      • Photodamage (sun damage)
      • Aging Skin
      • Acne
      • Dull Skin
      • Skin that needs rejuvenation
      • To learn more about medical facials, please click here
  • Microdermabrasion and Chemical Peels (Lactic and Lactic with Retinoic Boost) help to:
    • Unclog pores
    • Improve skin tone
    • Remove devitalized and dead skin cell
    • Give the skin a fresh glow
    • To learn more about Chemical Peels, please click here
    • To learn more about Microdermabrasion, please click here
  • Mineral Makeup Consultations and Colour Matching
    • I am pleased to offer high quality makeup in my office which includes:
      • Sheer to Flawless coverage foundation (cream, liquid and powder)
      • Eye shadows
      • Eye liners
      • Lip sticks
      • Lip glosses
      • Blushes
      • Bronzers
      • Professional makeup tools (natural bristle brushes, lash curlers)
    • To learn more about our Hypoallergenic Mineral Makeup, please click here

What if you are interested to learn more?

  • Please click on the blue-coloured links above
  • E-Mail Us
  • Or call our aesthetic centre directly at 905-549-7873 to book a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable technicians
  • To see a short video clip in which Dr. V discusses  Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy, please click here