Does Photodynamic Therapy Really Increase Collagen Production?

According to an article published on Medline Plus in Oct. 08, "Photodynamic therapy appears to cause molecular-level changed in aging skin that increase collagen production".

When I asked a local dr. about this, she said Light-Activated Therapy is only being used on cancer patients. It makes sense that collagen production is the key. What are your comments?

Doctor Answers 2

PDT may boost collagen production

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Photodynamic therapy has many effects on a molecular level--it preferentially targets precanceous lesions (in the treatment of actinic keratoses) and can help to shrink oil glands (improving acne and enlarged oil glands called sebaceous hyperplasia).  Collagen production can be augmented, and this effect may be further improved depending on the light source used.  Using an IPL or pulsed dye laser in addition to blue light may further boost collagen production.  Both of these laser/light sources have on their own been demonstrated to increase neocollagenesis.

San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon

PDT, topical retinoid, TCA chemical peel and laser resurfacing can all stimulate collagen production

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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. Its major effect on the skin is the photochemical reaction where precancerous lesions get preferentially inflamed and sloughed off. Collagen stimulation is a nice bonus, as confirmed by molecular markers as published in the study. However, one may see equal if not greater collagen stimulation over a period of time from regular application of topical retinoid such as Retin-A or Tazorac, TCA chemical peel and/or fractional CO2 laser resurfacing.

William Ting, MD
Bay Area Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

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.