Hair Removal

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) for hair removal

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is in the experimental stages to induce hair reduction. This has been proposed only in theory as a possible means of hair removal based on an experimental clinical trial in 1995. However, commercial use of this has not been approved as of yet, and would be considered in the near future. In Dermatology, topical photodynamic therapy is an evolving, relatively new modality.

While this has been in wide use in Europe for the treatment of skin cancer and actinic keratoses, topical PDT is still unknown in the United States. This has been approved by the US FDA in 1999, and now photodynamic therapy is in the evaluatory stage in the treatment of acne, superficial epidermal tumors, and cosmetic applications. There have been recent advances in PDT with an emphasis on acne, skin rejuvenation, and hair removal.

What is PDT?

Photodynamic therapy also known as ALA, is a treatment that uses Levulan, which is a topical photosensitizing agent. It is applied to the skin and activated by light on a specific wavelength. These treatments aim at the removal of:

  • Sun-damage
  • Precancerous spots
  • Improvement in fine lines and blotchy pigmentation
  • Minimization of pores
  • Treatment of rosacea and
  • Improvement in the appearance of acne scars

PDT has been used to remove unwanted hair by inactivation or destruction of hair follicles or destruction of the tissue supplying food to the hair follicles. Photodynamic therapy has been useful in treating a few cancers.

In the treatment of acne, this is a short treatment regimen with very good results and without any side effects or pain. On the contrary to hair removal, PDT provides a means to treat conditions of hair loss as in androgenic alopecia, drug-induced alopecia, etc.

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