Photodynamic Treatment Useful Against Seborrhea?

Doctor Answers (3)

No clinical report of efficacy of photodynamic therapy PDT in treating seborrhea

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Seborrhea is a multifactorial skin condition often affecting central profile of the face as well as along hair bearing areas of eyebrows, hairlines and mustaches. Photodynamic therapy or PDT has been shown to be effective in treating sun damage, a.k.a. actinic keratoses, acne, oily complexion and has potential in treating rosacea and sebaceous hyperplasia. However, there is no clinical report to date of the efficacy of PDT in treating seborrhea.


Bay Area Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Photodynamic therapy for seborrhea

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I did a quick literature search and could not find any articles supporting the use of PDT (photodynamic therapy) in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. The hard part is that seborrhea is not something that is likely to be "cured", it is something you will need to learn to manage. PDT just isn't practical for contiued use. There are great topical therapies for seborrhea that are much more realistic for long-term management.

Dawn L. Sammons, DO
Ohio Dermatologist

Useful Perhaps but There are Better and Cheaper Treatments

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There has been some work with psoriasis and photodynamic therapy and indeed it can be helpful. Since seborrheic dermatitis is a mini-me of psoriasis, PDT probably benefits this condition too although I know of know papers demonstrating this. ( Seborrhea being a major symptom of seborrheic dermatitis.)

There are so many better and less expensive treatments for this problem than PDT, I cannot see a reason for its use here. Regular UVB light for one if you want a light based treatment. A host of tar-based, zinc-based, sulfur-based, salicylic acid-based shampoos. Topical steroid or a new product called Promiseb work, although the former is not a long term solution. Since many cases of seb derm are due to a yeast-like organism called Malassezia Furfura shampoos or topicals such as Loprox shampoo, Nizoral Shampoo or Naftin cream are effective. Cacineurin inhibitors work too. The old standby of selenium sulfide found in Selsun Blue or prescription strength Selsun can still be summoned.

General advice would be to shampoo more frequently and leave the shampoo on longer. Discontinue the use of hair sprays and pomades.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

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