Photodynamic Therapy to Eliminate Sebaceous Glands?

I have extremely oily facial skin, and this has always bothered me very much. Are there any procedures that could permanently destroy some of the sebaceous glands in my face to cause a permanent reduction in oil production?

I have heard of people going on low dose isotretinoin for this, but I'm not keen on this idea, and am looking for a more permanent solution. I have also read that Photodynamic therapy may destroy the sebaceous glands.

Is this true? Are there any other treatment options for a permanent reduction in oil secretion? Many thanks.

Doctor Answers 2

PDT as an adjunctive therapy for sebaceous hyperplasia

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Sebaceous hyperplasia (permanently engorged sebaceous glands) is one of the most challenging skin lesion to treat in dermatology as the roots of the sebaceous glands often extend beyond top layers of the skin.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) involves application of Levulan for a specified duration followed by exposure to the blue light as prescribed by your board-certified dermatologist. There is significant art and science associated with PDT protocol, i.e. incubation time (the amount of time Levulan is left on the skin) and the exposure time (the subsequent amount of time you are under the blue light therapy). The temporary oxidative stress brought to the skin by PDT can be helpful to eradicate bacteria responsible for acne exacerbation and facilitate sebaceous glands on the skin to respond better to conventional therapy such as oral antibiotics and prescription strength topical therapy.

One will get the best clinical outcome from PDT for sebaceous hyperplasia lesions, if these lesions are pretreated with gentle electrodessication. If oral retinoid is not an option (e.g. women of child-bearing age), potent topical retinoid such as tazoratene can be a nice adjunctive therapy as well.

Bay Area Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Photodynamic therapy can shrink sebaceous glands, large pores and acne spots

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PDT is a great treatment option to shrink sebaceous glands, large pores and acne spots. Using ALA, which has an affinity for oil glands, helps. This treatment is cosmetic and usually isn't covered by insurance.

Gary Goldenberg, MD
New York Dermatologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.