You’ve tried everything for your acne. It’s getting to the point where you are wondering if anything is going to help your skin to look better. Is there an alternative to medications when it comes to acne? Many years ago when I was growing up, the answer was simply no.
But now there are alternative methods that can clear up your acne either completely, or close enough to it. There are laser acne treatments, often offered with either a 1064nm Nd:Yag laser or a BBL device that, over several sessions, will alleviate bacteria growth and minimize the sebaceous glands. The results can last a year or sometimes indefinitely. Usually treated in 4-6 sessions 1-2 weeks apart, they require no medication, no downtime and you can start to see results by the 4th or 5th session.
Alternately, there is a treatment called Photodynamic Therapy (PDT). Photodynamic Therapy is widely known for treating Actinic Keratosis, or pre- cancerous cells. But, it is also an amazing treatment for acne. PDT is a treatment that generally requires 2 rounds of treatment, usually about two weeks apart, and occasionally a third treatment is required for severe acne. A medication called Metvix is applied to the affected areas, and is left on the skin for about three hours. This incubation process allows the medication to go deeper into the skin and look for the problem.
The medication by itself is not active, is painless and is only applied topically. To activate the Metvix, the use of our BBL device, using double wavelengths (blue and red) helps to destroy bacteria and alleviate inflammation. Because it is generally done over a two week process, results are quick and very satisfying.
During the first week after the initial application, a purge may happen. This means that the bacteria in the skin may come to the surface, resulting in a more severe breakout than normal. Although it doesn’t always happen, we do offer the patient the option of using an antibiotic for that week to lessen the purge, although it is not mandatory. A purge after the second application is rare, as most of the bacteria have been eliminated already. We do suggest not having any big plans during this time just to be safe!
PDT with Metvix is now widely known in the benefits/ insurance field, and benefit plans will cover most, if not all of the service. We provide a letter for you to give to your insurance company with all the necessary information that they will need to let you know whether or not you are covered.
If your acne is making a mess of your life and nothing else seems to be helping, or, if you are a person who would rather not be on medications such as birth control or antibiotics or accutane, PDT is an excellent alternative. It is big in the United States and has been gaining popularity here in Canada over the past few years. A quick, fairly easy way to finally treat your acne once and for all, PDT is an option you should look into.
To see if you are right for PDT for acne, be sure to come in to Toronto Dermatology Centre to visit your medical esthetician. She will determine if you are a good candidate, explain in full detail what the treatment requires, and book your treatment for you to accommodate your schedule.
~ Sheri Roselle, Medical Esthetician at Toronto Dermatology Centre