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Pdt/ Levulan Therapy/ Red Light My Experience

pdt levulan red light

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#1 mizzouhaze

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 08:36 PM

I have been struggling with acne for about six years now. I have tried every product and pill there is (except acutane which i am trying very hard to avoid), and have rarely seen any permanent results. I have decided to try levulan red light therapy with a new dermatologist who has come highly recommended in Denver. My dermatologists assistant who did the treatment on me said she went through it herself to treat her acne and had six treatments done about three years ago that had helped her and that the technology has improved since then so I am feeling hopeful. The red light is suppose to penetrate deep under the skin into the pores and send signals to the body so that it recognizes the irregularities and combats them. In this case the irregularities are my severely inflamed oil glands which, somewhat like what acutane does internally, will be shrunk down externally.

I had my first treatment two days ago. I went under the red light for a little over 15 minutes. It was very hot and uncomfortable and afterwards I felt a bit of burning and it felt as though my face was swelling (all of which I have been told is normal). I have to avoid all contact with the sun for two and half days after the treatment because the UV rays will reactivate the burning sensation and slow the healing process. I have worn a bandana and hat every time I had to drive somewhere.

The day of the procedure my face was very very red and started to swell some. I woke up once during the night from the heat/burning sensation still continuing. Yesterday on day two my face was pretty swollen, mostly on my cheeks but the burning had stopped. I began to see acne/like, crusty white areas forming where my face had the largest acne buildup under the skin (which is pretty gross). This is supposedly my body combating the oil glands and trying to set my skin back to normal. On day three (today) these oily white areas are still pretty gross and increasing but also starting to dry out. I have been applying moisturizer non-stop to deal with how uncomfortable my face feels but overall trying not to touch it or pick at the dry spots. I called my dermatologist today and they said this was all normal activity and that after the amount of red light I was exposed to it would take from 4-6 days to recover but the worst would be the first two days after.

I will keep posting about my experience and have another appointment scheduled for three weeks from now. I really do feel like this is helping as uncomfortable as it is. It has been the most informative and overall helpful experience I have ever had with a dermatologist. The office and especially the assistant who did my treatment has been available for questions throughout it all and seems very optimistic and understanding. The worst part about it is my life cannot stop for these treatments and I have been going to my summer school classes with a bandana around my face. I also can't run or do strenuous exercise because it will flush my face too much and slow the healing process.

Sorry for the long post! I want to be informative and I hope I can be helpful and can answer questions from anyone who has them.

#2 mizzouhaze

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 08:43 PM

day four: ive got some serious peeling and my face has never been this dry. still pretty red too. The swelling is down though and my face is starting to return back to normal.

Has anyone else had a similar healing experience to this? It seems harsher than most.

#3 Kboy1990

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 09:52 PM

I'm considering getting this done soon before school starts again. Did you see a noticeable difference in regards to acne scars?

#4 mizzouhaze

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 05:22 PM

It has taken a full week for my face to stop peeling and return to normal. My acne scars are slightly less visible now but I can see how it would take a couple treatments to really get close to riding your face of them completely.

Also i have some cystic acne on my cheeks and near my chin now but the rest of my face looks pretty good and I haven't had any new breakouts since the procedure. \

#5 Kboy1990

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 12:57 AM

Just curious but did you have cystic acne in the past before? If this treatment caused cystic acne then I think I will just pass or wait til next summer vacation to get a series done if I have the money for it. When I tried mynocycline antibiotic it caused aggressive cystic acne that took half a year to get rid of and I never want to go through that again if possible because it really sucked.

#6 mizzouhaze

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 07:05 PM

i had cycstic acne before the procedure and have yet to find something that permanently gets rid of it. it is fading now though and so far nothing new has come up.

#7 motoxbmx

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 07:20 PM

I am happy that the PDT seems to be working for you!

I too was trying to avoid Accutane. I finally learned about PDT (wish I would have heard of it sooner) and I had Metvix red light PDT done. It has worked really well so far, I saw a huge improvement after my first treatment. My first time was quite painful (felt like my face was on a burner, lol). It was not so bad after that though, I wouldn't even say that it was uncomfortable. I had a lot of active acne, the first time, which may have contributed to the more intense burning. I, unfortunately, did not see any improvement on my scars. I was not aware that PDT could help with scarring. Are you talking about hyperpigmentation or actual indented scars?

I hope that you continue to improve!

Edited by motoxbmx, 10 July 2012 - 07:48 PM.


#8 mizzouhaze

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 04:24 PM

Thanks :)

There did seem a considerable difference in my acne after the first time. I just got my second one yesterday. It hurt like hell and burned a lot more than the first one but i have been icing constantly and have gotten a prescription for vicoden as well as a topical to heal the outside faster. So far there has been less swelling and it is considerably less uncomfortable also i havent had any crusting so far (very unlike last time). I dont know if this could be a result of the fact that the first treatment was actually very effective and I had less oil built up under the skin. Also my dermatologist said that higher pain during the second treatment could have been due to stress levels as i had had a very stressful day before the procedure.

#9 mizzouhaze

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 12:46 PM

I'm two weeks out from my second treatment now and my scars and skin tone have improved immensely. I also dont have very many breakout either. There are a couple big ones that came up post treatment as they did the last time too but nothing new since then and those are fading away now. I have never done anything to my skin in the six years that I have had acne that has helped this much. My skin looks worlds better. This treatment is worth the pain if you can find the right time to get it done!

#10 mizzouhaze

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 05:34 PM

i am still getting some breakouts post treatment but my skin still feels considerably better anyways.

#11 sanjoseskin

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 11:02 PM

Levulan with Red Light Therapy completely kills off the sebaceous glands. Is that the procedure you had done?



#12 mizzouhaze

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 11:02 AM

Hey sorry it took so long to reply. This is what I had done and he pretty much hit the nail on the head. I've only undergone two treatments because the down time was so long and I couldnt fit it into my schedule now that I am back at school but I am about three months out now and am still feeling much better about the way my skin looks. Like he said not all the glands are gone and I still get occasional breakouts but they are very small and go away very quickly

#13 mizzouhaze

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 10:57 AM

I just stopped wearing makeup for the first time in seven years. This is incredible and I have never felt better about the way I look. I still get small breakouts from stress and around my period but its nothing big and I can actually spot treat them now with a topical salicylic acid gel. I dont take any medication anymore besides birth control and only wash my face with a gentle cleanser at night and just water in the morning. Seriously this red light treatment, as painful and awful as it was, was totally worth it. I think it really was the thing that allowed me to reset the way that I treated my face and reset my tolerance to topical creams that dried me out so horribly and never hepled in the long run. For people who have suffered for years I seriously recommend trying it. i have a great recommendation for an doctor in denver if you want to send me a personal message about it. 



#14 random 1

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 04:54 PM

I appreciate you sharing your experience. I too have undergone Levulan treatment, so far just with blue light. I am headed into my third treatment switching to red light today. A bit nervous. My first treatment result was similar to your experience but I hardly had any effects from my second treatment. My dermatologist also started me on an oral med called spironolactone. It is a testosterone blocker that is supposed to help with hormonal acne. I'm 43 and my skin got worse after I stopped taking birth control. After my third child I had my tubes tied. Therefore, no point in BC anymore. So far I'm still seeing breakouts but it's only been 4 weeks. I'm trying to avoid acutane as well. 2weeks ago he put me on 100 mg dose (up from 50). I feel my skin has improved but not "there" yet. I'm interested to see what the effect of the red light vs the blue will do.




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