Photodynamic Therapy

An Intensified Form Of IPL Therapy That’s Ideal For Severely Sun-Damaged Skin, Rosacea And Severe Acne

Think of photodynamic therapy, also called PDT, as a supercharged version of IPL light therapy. It includes the use of aminolevulinic acid (ALA) before the procedure. The ALA is applied topically to increase the skin’s sensitivity to the light. This combination intensifies the IPL action and its results. That intensity is what makes PDT ideal for use with severely sun-damaged skin, extreme cases of rosacea and stubborn acne.

How Does PDT Work?

As in all IPL and laser procedures for hyperpigmentation, the light energy is absorbed by the skin colors that are to be eliminated—in some cases the browns, in others the reds. As the hyper-pigmented skin absorbs the light energy, it is damaged. That triggers the body’s natural healing process and the damaged areas are “shed” as part of healing. Preparing the skin with aminolevulinic acid makes it super-sensitive to the light and intensifies the overall targeting and healing process of the procedure.  


Different wavelengths of light are appropriate for treating the reds of rosacea, the browns of sun-damage and the complexities of acne. That is why we generally use LimeLight—an IPL offering the choice of three different wavelengths of light—for PDT.  It provides the maximum flexibility for treating a variety of conditions. We will talk about what’s best for you during your Complimentary Consultation.

 "The entire staff at Sylvana makes you feel welcome as soon as you walk in the door.  They provide valuable guidance in how to make you look and feel your best.  They give individualized and personalized attention to any procedure or service.  I've never been disappointed."  Francina B., Frederick, MD  


Why Would I Choose PDT?

Quicker results for extreme cases of sun damage, acne and rosacea is the primary benefit of PDT. Most patients can achieve their desired outcomes in two to three PDT treatments as opposed to three to five IPL treatments.

Why PDT for Acne?

PDT is particularly effective for severe acne because it works on the oil glands in addition to addressing bacteria and minimizing pores. The aminolevulinic acid is actually absorbed by the oil glands and when activated by IPL or laser, it shrinks them resulting in less oil production. PDT helps diminish and in some cases completely resolves the acne for up to two years.

Why PDT for Rosacea?

PDT is particularly effective at targeting both the red tones in the skin and the underlying vascular component typically found in rosacea. The results are dramatic and compelling. Because rosacea has a strong hereditary component, follow-up treatments are usually required to maintain the results long-term.

Photodynamic Therapy Gives Your Skin a Healthy Glow.

"I loved everyone at Sylvana Institute Med Spa in Frederick, MD. Nice staff and friendly. Jennifer who treated me was excellent.  I look forward to going back.  The service they provide is absolutely positive. Can't  wait for my next appointment!"  Diane P., Frederick, MD 


Why PDT for Extreme Sun-Damage?
The intensity of PDT is what makes it ideal for extremely sun-damaged skin. The topical ALA accelerates the well established sun-reversing benefits of IPL allowing them to take effect in fewer treatments than IPL alone.
The Three Steps of A PDT Treatment
First, we perform a light dermal exfoliation on the areas to be treated. Then we apply the light-sensitizing medication–aminolevulinic acid. It may be placed over the entire area being treated or in specific spots for a more targeted treatment.  The medication is left on the skin overnight. On the day of your procedure, we have you place a numbing cream on the area for approximately 90 minutes prior to treatment. We then treat the targeted areas—generally with LimeLight IPL or in some cases LaserGenesis—using the wavelengths of light that work best.


What Are The Side Effects of PDT Treatment?

The most common side effects are burning or stinging which may last up to 24 hours after your PDT treatment. Some people experience swelling which may last up to 72 hours. In general the skin turns red, like a sunburn, for two to three days after PDT. Scaling, crusting and peeling follow the procedure and can last approximately a week.


The ALA makes the skin super-sensitive to light, so it is critical to avoid sun exposure following PDT. You’ll need to pay special attention to using sunscreen and wearing sun-protective clothing during the days after.

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Sylvana Institute Med Spa in Frederick, MD Hours:  Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri: 9am-1pm & 2pm-5pm
Tues: 9am-1pm & 2pm-6pm
Saturday & Sunday:  Closed


182 Thomas Johnson Drive, Suite 100  |  Frederick, MD  21702  |  Phone: 301-668-0002  |  Email: