BLU-U® Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy Illuminator Model 4170
What is acne?
There are many types of acne with the most common being called acne vulgaris. Just beneath the surface of the skin lie hundreds of tiny glands called sebaceous glands. Their function is to collect and excrete the oily substance called sebum, to keep the skin healthy. However, the tiny pathway for the sebum to escape often becomes clogged, and a bacterium called p. acnes grows inside. In a short time, the area swells up, and forms a pimple on the skin.
There are many treatments for moderate acne such as creams, washes and medications (mild and strong). However, your doctor may decide that certain medications, such as antibiotics, aren't right for you. There is now a new treatment available that doesn't depend on medication. It's called the BLU-U® Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy Illuminator Model 4170. The BLU-U 4170 offers effective, non-invasive and pain-free blue light treatment for moderate inflammatory acne vulgaris, a condition affecting millions of adults, teens and children in the world.
How does the BLU-U work?
The BLU-U is a special blue light that can kill the p. acnes bacteria in your skin. You simply sit with your face close to the light for a short time at a schedule set up by Dr. Lockwood, usually a 15-minute session about once or twice per week. The treatments may go on for five weeks or so. It is safe, it is not hot, it is not painful at all. After some weeks, the blue light can control your acne, or clear it up for a very long period.
The BLU-U was cleared by the FDA in 2003 for the treatment of moderate inflammatory acne vulgaris.
What is Photodynamic Therapy?
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a special treatment performed with a topical photosensitizing agent called Levulan (5-aminolevulininc acid or ALA) activated with the correct wavelength of light. This is also known as "ALA/PDT treatment". These treatments remove sun damage pre-cancerous zones and spots called actinic keratoses. Sun damage, fine lines, and blotchy pigmentation are also improved because of the positive effect of Levulan and the light treatment. ALA/PDT treatment also has the unique ability to minimize pores and reduce oil glands, effectively treating stubborn acne vulgaris, acne rosacea, and improve the appearance of some acne scars.
How much improvement can I expect?
Patients with severe sun damaged skin manifested by actinic keratoses, texture, and tone changes including mottled pigmentation and skin laxity may se excellent results. You may also see improvement of large pores and pitted acne scars. Active acne can improve dramatically.
How many treatments will it take to see the "Best Results"?
To achieve maximum improvement of pre-cancerous (actinic keratoses) sun damage, skin tone and texture, a series of three or more treatments, 3 to 5 weeks apart is most effective. (Some patients with just actinic keratoses are happy with just one treatment.)
What are the disadvantages?
Following PDT, the treated area can appear red with some peeling for 2-7 days. Temporary swelling of the lips and around your eyes can occur for a few days. Darker pigmented patches called liver spots can become temporarily darker and then peel off leaving normal skin. (This usually occurs over 7 to 10 days.)
What are the advantages?
- Easier for patients than repeated topical liquid nitrogen, Efudex (5-FU), or Aldara because the side effects are minimal, rapid healing, and a minimal number of treatments required.
- The ALA/PDT treatment at our clinic is essentially painless verses liquid nitrogen, 5-FU and Aldara.
- Reduced scarring and improved cosmetic outcome compared with cautery, surgery and Efudex. Liquid nitrogen can leave white spots on your skin.
- Levulan improves the whole facial area treated creating one colour, texture, and tone rather than just spot treating with liquid nitrogen, cautery and surgery.
In summary, PDT match the "ideal treatment" for actinic damage:
- Well tolerated (minimal discomfort)
- Easily performed by a specialty clinic environment
- Non-invasive (no needles or surgery required)
- Excellent cosmetic outcome
Pre treatment instructions
- "Patients who have a history of recurring cold sores (Herpes simplex type 1) should start oral Valtrex 500 mg tablets 2 days prior to your PDT treatment.
- Make sure your skin is clean and free of all make-up, moisturizers and sunscreens. Bring a hat, sunglasses and a scarf with you to the clinic.
- Before pictures will be taken prior to the Levulan being applied for clinic use only.
- You will need to sign a consent form prior to the treatment starting
- And acetone scrub is performed. This will enhance the absorption of the Levulan and give much more even uptake.
- Levulan is applied topically to the whole area to be treated (such as whole face, back of the hands, extensor part of the forearms). Dr. Lockwood or his staff will apply the Levulan.
- The Levulan is left on for 3 to 70 minutes before any light treatment.
- The Levulan is activated with IPL. This unique spectrum of light activates the Levulan beginning with low energy levels. This treatment has minimal discomfort but requires about 90 minutes to complete.
Post treatment instructions
Day of treatment:
- Remain indoors if possible and avoid direct sunlight.
- Take analgesics such as Tylenol or Advil if necessary.
- Apply Hydrocortisone 1% ointment, Vaseline or Catrix ointment at night. Your skin will feel dry; keep it moisturized.
- You may take a shower. Men should try not to shave their face if it was treated.
- You may take analgesics. Any discomfort usually subsides by Day 3.
- You should avoid sunlight and try to remain indoors on Day 2. The photosensitivity to sunlight is usually gone 24 hours after treatment, but may last as long as 40 hours.
- You should soak the treated area with a solution of 1 tsp. white vinegar in 1 cup of cold water for 20 minutes every 4 to 6 hours. Ice may be applied directly over the vinegar soaks. The area should be patted dry and Hydrocortisone 1% ointment reapplied following the vinegar soaks.
- You may begin applying make-up once any crusting has healed. The area may be slightly red for a few weeks.
- The skin will feel dry and tightened. A good moisturizer should be used daily.
- Try to avoid direct sunlight for one week. No beaches! Use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 for four months. We recommend Ombrelle SPF 60 to effectively protect your newly rejuvenated skin.
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