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Blu-U/Photodynamic therapy (PDT) in Charlotte, NC

Darst Dermatology offers personalized Blu-U/Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) in Charlotte, Matthews, and the surrounding North Carolina communities.

What is Blu-U for acne?

Blu-U is a safe and effective alternative available for acne treatment. It has the unique ability to kill the bacteria that causes acne, effectively treating stubborn acne and improving the appearance of some red bumps.

Blu-U acne treatment involves three mechanisms of action against acne. The treatment inactivates the bacteria that trigger acne. This can produce visible improvement in redness and inflammation.

Results with Blu-U are especially impressive in conjunction with conventional treatments such as topical medicines and oral antibiotics.

The Blu-U treatment is very safe. The blue light penetrates just deep enough into the tissue to reach the acne target. It only affects the P. acnes bacteria, not the normal tissue. It contains NO radiation and does not damage the skin itself. It has NO risk of causing skin cancer. It is NOT ultra-violet light.

Acne usually requires 8 to 10 treatments, with maintenance every 4 to 6 months. It is important to keep the treatment appointments recommended. By following the treatment plan, you’ll see maximum results and enjoy clearer skin.

Preparing for each Blu-U acne treatment:

The face should be cleansed with soap and water and free of any oil. Women need to be make-up free during the treatment. It is not necessary to remove mascara, lip stick or lip liner. The medical assistant will cleanse the skin further with a special prep solution.

Procedure for the Blu-U acne treatment:

  • Protective goggles are worn during the procedure. Even though the light is not ultraviolet, it is still very intense. Wearing the goggles is mandatory.
  • You will sit with your face in front of the Blu-U machine for 10 minutes, while the light treats the acne.
  • You may re-apply sunscreen or makeup immediately afterwards.

What is Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)?

  • Photodynamic Therapy safely and effectively treats pre-cancers; cosmetic roughness and irregular pigmentation.
  • Mechanism: Aminolevulenic Acid (Levulan) penetrates into the epidermal cells. If there are pre-cancerous cells, it soaks into them preferentially.
  • The Blu-U machine emits a wavelength of light which activates the Levulan, turning it into oxygen and eliminating the targeted cells. It is not UV light; it is not radiation. This may prevent the formation of skin cancer. It usually requires 2-3 treatments, 3 to 4 weeks apart. Occasional maintenance treatments are beneficial.

Preparing for the Photodynamic Therapy (PDT):

  • You will be asked to wash your face and to remove any makeup. It is not necessary to remove mascara, lip stick or lip liner. The medical assistant will cleanse the skin further with a special prep solution.
  • After the skin is cleansed, Levulan, which is a clear liquid, is applied. Levulan can be applied to treat the face, scalp, or arms. The medication is left to rest on the treatment area for 60-90 minutes. This 60-90 minute application time is termed the incubation period.
  • After the incubation period, the Levulan will be activated with Blue Light. Patients sit comfortably in a chair while the light is applied to the affected area for a period of approximately 17 minutes.
  • No anesthetic topical cream is needed prior to the light exposure. The Blue light is NOT ultraviolet light. It is visible light; think of a fluorescent lights with all the red, orange, yellow, green spectrums taken out.
  • Although the light is visible light, patients are given special goggles to protect their eyes during the treatment. Wearing the goggles is mandatory.
  • During the treatment a patient may feel stinging, tingling, prickling, or burning of the lesions, but this should go away after the treatment. A hand held fan will be provided for your comfort.
  • After treatment with the Blu-U, the solution will be washed off the skin using soap and water following the light activation. A layer of sunscreen is applied last prior to leaving the office.
  • Please come prepared with a wide brimmed hat for you to wear when you leave the office.

What to expect after your Blu-U (PDT) Treatment

  • There will be redness, and occasionally, mild blistering or bruising of the treated areas lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. This will depend on the sensitivity of your skin and the severity of your sun damage.
  • The treated area might “crust”, “flake”, or look like a “cat scratch.” Any areas that become crusted are pre-cancerous areas that have been successfully treated. Some crusting and scabbing is considered a good result. This should resolve within 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Your skin will be more sensitive for a few days up to a couple of weeks after your treatment. There should be some discomfort, but no significant pain.
  • After 1 week, there might be some residual redness that will subside after a few days and can be covered with make-up.

Special precautions after your Blu-U (PDT) treatment:

  • Wash affected areas with gentle cleanser and water, pat dry, and apply EltaMD Intense Moisturizer.
  • STAY INSIDE and keep the treated area out of the sun and bright lights for 48 hours. Exposure to the sun within this time period can lead to a severe blistering burn in the areas that were treated.
  • If outdoor exposure sun or bright lights are unavoidable, wear a hat with a brim, cover your face with a scarf, wear large sunglasses and use sunscreen. Sunscreen alone is NOT ENOUGH PROTECTION to prevent a burn in the first 48 hours after treatment, since the Levulan is activated by visible light, not ultraviolet (UV) light. Examples of strong visible light: sunlight, dentist exam lights, sitting by windows, bright reading lamps.
  • You should use EltaMD Physical or EltaMD Daily sunscreen daily for at least 4 weeks following treatment regardless of the time of year or if it is overcast or cloudy. Sun exposure may lead to the production of blotchy dark pigmentation which may take several months to fade.
  • Avoid excessive heat exposure such as saunas, steam rooms, hot showers or baths, overhead doctor/dentist exam lights and strenuous exercising for 24 hours. This prevents the risk of blistering.
  • You can return to normal activities immediately after treatment, as long as you avoid bright light and sunlight for 48 hours.
  • Avoid any aggressive skin care products such as scrubs, exfoliants, alpha or beta hydroxy acid products – including retinol until your skin has returned to normal.
  • Keep clothing from rubbing the treated area and avoid other irritation to the area.
  • Do not get hairspray on the treated area.
  • Notify the office should you have any prolonged redness, excessive puffiness, or other unusual side effects for a period of OVER one month.

Dr. Darst, a board-certified dermatologist, offers Blu-U/Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) to residents of Charlotte, Matthews, and other Metrolina communities in North Carolina. Schedule a consultation today by calling 704-325-5415. Darst Dermatology is conveniently located at 11301 Golf Links Drive North, Charlotte, NC 28277.