Does Photodynamic Therapy Have Permanent Effect?

i was diagnosed with cystic acne 3 years ago and took accutane for 5 to 6 months.i was greatly improved but after a while sebum started to appear on my face and scalp along with the ocasional acne outbursts.i have decided to get pdt treament.i want to know if it is safe and if its result is permanent or not.thanks in advance

Doctor Answers 5

PDT works for acne, it seems to have a lasting and long-term effect

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Thanks for your question – and Dr. Fabi’s response is 100% accurate. What we have learned over the years is that when PDT works for acne, it seems to have a lasting and long-term effect. Is that a permanent effect? It is impossible to determine and we have had patients in our practice that have stayed clear longer than 2 years now and several that have been clear for 5 years. Is that permanent? Maybe, but we still tell people that they still may break out and still may need more PDT treatments in the future. Work with a board-certified dermatologist and learn more about PDT and what kind of effects you should expect and how the treatments work and will work for you.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

PDT for Acne

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Unfortunately I am not aware of any permanent treatment for acne. As you have learned, even Accutane can not guarantee a permanent resolution, as the causes for acne are multifactorial. I perform a great deal of photodynamic therapy treatments, with a high patient satisfaction rate. Patients always have the realistic expectation that their acne may come back, and I have had patients that have been able to stay clear (still having the occasional white or black head) for anywhere between 6months to 2 years.  When they are bothered by their acne again, they return and typically have another treatment.  The photodynamic therapy treatments I perform do typically involve the use of 3-4 different lasers and light sources, which is typically more aggressive than ones only use 1-2 lasers or light sources.  Good luck!

Sabrina Fabi, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 91 reviews

PDT for acne is not permanent

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Based on research data, photodynamic therapy can temporary improve acne by killing the bacteria and decreasing redness but it does not offer long term benefit (similar effect as oral antibiotics). However, if your natural course of acne is getting better, based on your gender, age and hormone status, it can offer short term rescue (improve your acne for 1-2 months) and help your acne along the way.

Isabel Zhu, MD, PhD
Boulder Dermatologist

Photodynamic therapy for acne

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Photodynamic therapy is an effective treatment for many people with acne. In some cases it can really clear up your acne for a long time, and in other cases it may need to be repeated on a periodic basis. Best to speak with a dermatologist to make sure this is the best treatment for you.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

Photodynamic therapy for acne.

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There is no permanent cure for acne but it can be controlled.  Photodynamic therapy is a safe treatment if performed by an experienced dermatologist.  You may require several treatments and you must avoid sun exposure for 2 days after your treatment.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto 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.