Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) Austin

A chemical solution applied to your skin before light therapies such as BLU-U® and FotoFacial™ | Intense Pulsed Light | IPL® makes targeted tissue more light sensitive, so each treatment is more effective and fewer treatments are required. We typically use aminolevulinic acid (ALA) as the photosensitizing agent.

Available at both
Central Texas Dermatology and SkinCare Austin


Photodynamic Therapy has been effective in the treatment of actinic keratosis (pre-cancerous spots), some types of skin cancer, sun damaged skin, acne, and oily skin with sebaceous gland enlargement.

The Schedule

The number of treatments necessary and treatment intervals will vary depending on the condition being treated.


Retin-A and similar topical creams (Renova, Retinol, Differin, Avita, Tazorac) should be discontinued several days prior to PDT. Avoid sun exposure for two days following PDT, because your skin will still be very sensitive to light. If the Intense Pulsed Light machine is used to provide the light source, you must avoid the sun for at least one week prior to treatment as well.

The Treatment

  • Before Photodynamic Therapy
  • You should stop using Retin-A and similar topical creams (Renova, Retinol, Differin, Avita, Tazorac) several days prior to PDT.
  • During Photodynamic Therapy
  • We apply the chemical to your skin for 30 to 90 minutes. This causes the light therapy to be more effective, allowing patients to spend less time under the light. During light-exposed, which typically lasts about 9-13 minutes, your skin will experience a mild burning sensation.
  • After Photodynamic Therapy
  • Avoid the sun. Your skin will be extra sensitive to light after PDT. Avoid all sun exposure for at least two days.
  • Some patients experience swelling, redness, stinging, and burning for three to 10 days following treatment. Occasionally a patient will have an allergic reaction to the PDT chemical. Some patients, especially those with darker skin, may have temporary skin discoloration for weeks or months after treatment.