Initial and long term results of photodynamic therapy for skin care issues, such as acne and imperfect skin tones, are directly related to the severity of each individual case. Typically, dermatology patients who opt for this procedure will suffer a slight sunburn experience, whereby the skin will turn red and peel for the first couple of days after treatment. Subsequently, photodynamic therapy patients usually experience noticeable results in a relatively short period of time, quite often immediately following treatment. In more severe cases, further sessions may be required at two- to three-week intervals.

Initial Results

A topical gel made of aminolevulinic acid, or ALA, is applied to the skin and absorbed by specific skin gland cells, which will, in turn, experience a heightened sensitivity to the blue or red lights used in the procedure. One treatment shrinks epidermal oil glands and pores, thus decreasing the total amount of oil in the skin. Photodynamic therapy can also kill the bacteria that work to inflame troublesome episodes of acne. The overall texture of the skin improves immediately following the procedure. For the first 24 hours post-treatment, patients experience a photosensitivity to sunlight; therefore, doctors advise patients to stay indoors.

Long Term Results

With multiple sessions at doctor-prescribed frequencies, long term results of photodynamic therapy may include a major improvement in the decreased number and severity of acne episodes, with some patients in research studies claiming a 50 to 75 percent breakthrough in the elimination of their breakouts. Patients suffer no scarring from the procedure, as no surgical excisions are performed; in fact, studies show that original acne scars are softened through therapy. Patients also report an extended softness and improved look in the smoothness of their skin. Finally, photodynamic therapy may eliminate early cancer-causing variables in the skin.

Initial and long term results of photodynamic therapy will vary with each individual patient and depend upon the number of treatments recommended by the prescribing physician.