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Levulan Activated By The Sun?

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I went in for a levulan treatment 6 months ago. The put the kerastik on my face in the evening. And told me to come back in the morning for the activation. When I got there they said it had already started to activate, so the laser would be too painful. They then brought me to the top of the parking garage and had me face the sun to let it activate. It burned so bad I could hardly stand it. I lasted only 2 minutes. I had to take a week off work while my face burned and peeled. Since then, my acne has only gotten worse. Now I have huge cystic acne all over. I have been to 2 dermatologist since. 1 recommends accutane, the other recommends antibiotics and creams.. They both say that activating by the sun is crazy! But the place where I got it done insists that it is a proper way to activate. Has anyone heard of this?? Please help.

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Hello there,

I have done levulan for extremely oily skin and lesions similar to acne lesions. I was told by a reputable nurse working for an excellent dermatologist that it IS OKAY to activate the blu-u by sunlight, so you were not lied to. It does start to activate the levlulan, as the blue light is contained in the spectrum of "white" or sunlight. What you did was not unsafe.

Having said that, it does intensify the reaction, so yes, you would peel for a week. I get that also. If it is too much for your skin, any reasonable doctor would NOT have you do that again, but simply put you under the blu-u and send you home. You may want to go elsewhere for your next treatment.

As to not getting effects, I think that may take more treatments. Certainly the scholarship on levulan for acne is very positive and the studies show it does shrink the oil glands. As to the acne being worse, some of the writing on this treatment suggest that professional extraction may be required after the treatment, since the glands shrink and you guessed it -- the oil is left in your skin or sebum.

I myself have had some but limited success with this treatment. I do see several studies that shot a lot of improvement for acne. I would say don't give up on the treatment yet... but don't activate with sunlight again. Also, are you absolutely certain you do not have any other photosensitivity? Double check any creams/medications you may be on with your doctor. That could cause the very dramatic reaction too. Also, how many minutes are you doing under the blu u? Perhaps discuss that with a doctor. The longer the incubation, the more aggressive the result i.e. the more likely that you will get a lot of redness and peeling. That can be controlled with the length of activation time.

No, you were not dealing with something terribly outside the norm, and yes, you should carefully look at these details for your next procedure, if you decide to go that way.

Have you tried green clay masks or fullers earth masks? (You can find this on the Internet.) Totally safe, no reaction and they draw oil like nobody's business :)

Good luck,


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