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Photodynamic therapy (PDT) - Levulan, MAL, etc.
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Photodynamic therapy (PDT) - Levulan, MAL, etc.


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Photodynamic therapy (PDT) - Levulan, MAL, etc.

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Photodynamic therapy (PDT) - Levulan, MAL, etc.

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Reviewed on July 23, 2011

I've always had oily skin, large pores, and zits here and there but my skin exploded with cystic acne after a traumatic experience when I was 27. I've tried EVERYTHING under the Sun to cure the acne as well as repair the depressed and icepick scars that humiliate me. My last resort before I have a Fraxel Re:pair (this winter -- EXCITED!) was photodynamic therapy.

The first time I had a PDT it involved a light microderm, followed by the AHA being applied and left to incubate for an hour. After that I sat for 15 minutes under a blue light. There was no pain, just a warm sensation -- like getting too much sun -- but I had a fan on my face to keep cool. Afterwards the doc shot me with an IPL (which hurt like heck even with Valium). The aftermath was that I had only a few whiteheads and I looked like I had a bad sunburn. I kept out of the sun for two days (medicine is still active), and kept Aquaphor on (yuck) until I went back a week later. Bottom line: I had slight flaking, but a definite decrease in oil all over but especially on my cheeks. My forehead was still kind of oily and my chin had a shine, but it wasn't as bad as it was. My pores were smaller, but I still broke out in small zits and whiteheads. I was told to give my face at least 6 weeks for it to completely purge itself. There was no change to the scars. I'm also still on antibiotics.

This second time -- 3 weeks later -- the doc decided to do a light Fraxel Re:store before the PDT to work the medicine deep in my skin. So I had a microderm, numbing cream, Fraxel, then the PDT and IPL. I had this on Tuesday. Wednesday I had a TON of whiteheads. Now my face is really red and peeling like a snake from the Fraxel. I'm keeping Aquaphor on it until I go back next Tues. I have lots of raised red bumps and a few whiteheads. Little to no scar improvement (to me), but let's cross our fingers. What I want most is an end to this acne (as a 31 year-old woman!) and to smooth out the scars that disgust

Reviewed on June 11, 2011

I've had my first of 3 treatments (ALA on my face and upper back for 1 hour, 6-7 mins of Blu-U). I was very careful to stay out of the sun after the treatment for well over 24 hours and I think this is the key to lowering side effects. Mine were fairly mild - red skin for 2 days, followed by dark spots where my bigger pimples had been for another few days, followed by moderate peeling. I was back in public after 24-48 hours and skin looking better than ever by the end of the 1st week. My skin tone has already improved, the number of pimples has been significantly reduced, and I'm very satisfied with the results...all that and it's still only my first of 3 treatments! Supposedly, this treatment can reduce's hard to say at this point. There may be a bit of a reduction. I'm hoping that things will only improve more with each additional treatment. I highly recommend this if you can afford it. Just stay out of the sun COMPLETELY for the first 24-48 hrs and side effects should be well worth it.

In case it matters, I'm a 31 year old male and have fought mild to moderate acne since my teens. I'm very oily and I've tried basically everything on the store shelves that's supposed to work for acne, with little effect. I've also tried doxycycline (oral) and topical clindamycin with moderate effect. Have never tried accutane. Only one treatment in and photodynamic therapy is the most effective thing i've tried by far. Hopefully the results last! The acne on my face is mostly white heads and black heads. The acne on my back is more cystic. The treatment seems to be working well for all types, though I suspect the cystic acne on my back will be slower to resolve. The price I list is per treatment and per area.

Reviewed on May 16, 2011

Would do it again if needed. I had the Levulan left on for 7 hours before it was activated by the blue light. I believe this is better than 3 smaller treatments as it gets very deep. Its been 3 months still get a few pimples but they usually clear up quick.

Reviewed on May 11, 2011

Hi all! I has this tx done 1 week ago today and had some concerns to share. First, a little history-I have been fighting acne for 8 years ( am 21) and have used various topicals (duac, epiduo, Rentin A) and antibiotics (Doxycycline, minocycline) and accutane in 2008 (40 mg BID for 6 months). I am currently taking 150 mg of Aldactone which has helped with my hormonal bumps, however, I wanted to get rid of some of the scarring and pesky plugs in my chin. My dermatologist recommended this tx for me since I have very fair skin and light acne. I incubated with the levulan for 1 hour and sat under the light for 18 minutes. I had redness and stinging for 2-3 days after the treatment and then I had hyperpigmentation of the scars and some brown patches appeared. I had no peeling and am very concerned that the next tx will exacerbate the discoloration. Again, it has been a week and the hyperpigmentation still persists. The dermatologist insisted that I continue through my series of txs and wants to increase my incubation time to 1.5 hours, but I am still frightened of how my skin is going to react. If anyone out there has experienced a similar reaction, I would greatly appreciate some advice and if this hyperpigmentation will get better with subsequent treatments. Thanks for your help, and best of luck to those trying this treatment

Reviewed on May 10, 2011

i dont know when or if i will ever get my face back! I wish i never went through with this. i was honestly desperate. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE learn from my mistake and dont do this!!!!!! i was told that after my face peeled i would be left with beautiful skin... however, i was left with worse acne then before and i never thought that was possible. AND THEY HURT MORE THAN EVER!! i did this treatment 2 weeks ago and went in today for a follow up... i basically got an "oh" from the doctor.

The first couple days i couldnt even look at myself in the mirror. i probably got a million whiteheads all over my face and didnt even recognize myself from the swelling. i couldnt even open my eyes all the way!!!

I would recommend something that works from the inside out like anti-biotics.

Please stay away from levulan and blu-u!!!!

Reviewed on April 10, 2011

I signed up to get 6 treatments of this, but was only able to get 4 because I reacted so badly to the fourth. My face burned so much the week of my recovery and it was just so unbearable I had to go on pain medication. My skin scabbed horribly and started breaking out more than how I initially started. It took about 2 good months before the pain completely went away. Now, 7 months after, my skin is still extremely red and scarred from the cystic acne it caused me.

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Reviewed on November 30, 2010

I had 6 treatments consisting of levulan with the blue light after. Before hand the ascetician performed microdermabrasion and extractions. With all this there was NO IMPROVEMENT whatsoever.

Reviewed on November 10, 2010

Don't expect anything but a decrease in oil production.

If you're like me it's worth what its made for: shutting your sebaceous glands up! (decrease oil production)

What's "like me" ??!: Pale, insanely oily (as in every hour you need one of those blotting sheets), large pores, lots of blemishes, like if I breakout it leaves a mark every time for like a whole year or longer, scarring, recently hormonal breakouts (during PMS then clears up just in time for next PMS), some cysts (from excess oil), skin is so sensitive I can touch my face with water and I'll break out.

It helped with the oiliness so I am assuming in the long run it will help with cysts, I think I will need half as many blotting papers which is awesome, I will still break out because of my hormones so I won't be completely new-blemish free. It doesn't seem to be helping with any other issue I have. Skins smoother after the peeling ends because hello I just shed a layer, but other than that there's nothing left to do but take care of it as best I can and hope that my make up for work doesn't ruin the process I just went through.

One thing that bothered me was that I don't get whiteheads and I got some, maybe a dozen, and little tiny spots here and there. The white heads hurt and it was as if they were getting pushed out of my face by the treatment. But eventually it goes away.

They will tell you it will help with other things like some conditions I have, but thats not what its made for so just go in knowing that you will clean the oil spills, which I think is really important to start off with.

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Reviewed on October 21, 2010

I went to a top derm in Beverly Hills and paid for a set of 5 treatments followed by V-Beam laser spaced one month apart each. My skin has been getting worse since the start to the end of these treatment. I had mild acne and would now consider it moderate with some cysts. The doctor convinced me to keep going, but now after spending the money and the time, I regret doing it. This can work wonders on some, but to others it can be a big mistake, there really is no way to know. I followed all of the guidlines and was left with worse acne. PDT, in my opinion should be used as a last line of defense. It you haven't tried antibiotics and creams yet, try them before doing this. I did a round of V-Beam a few years ago and then again with the PDT and it really smooths out skin texture. Try the V-Beam with Smoothbeam laser first it was cheaper and the results were much better!!!!!

Reviewed on October 19, 2010

I had around 7 of these procedures done in the 1.5 year time span.

In the first couple treatments it worked miracles. I was no longer breaking out and the texture of my skin was so smooth. My fine lines and acne scars started to fade.

After my 4th treatment my skin grew immune to the PDL treatment and returned to it's oily and moderate acne state.

I tried 3 more times in a desperate attempt and it no longer worked on my skin.

I spent so much money on the treatments and it left me hopeless.

I saw an infomercial on MaxClarity and gave it a shot. I been using it for 3 months and it helped with my cystic acne and oily skin. It's a lot cheaper too!