Contour offers BLU-U® Blue Light Photdynamic Therapy

What is Photodynamic Therapy?

Photodynamic Therapy is the use of light-activated medications which produce singlet oxygen (a high energy form of oxygen) to treat diseased tissues. The drug undergoes a chemical reaction when light of a particular wavelength and intensity is applied, resulting in a therapeutic effect.

Step into the Healing Light of Blue Light Therapy

Two key groups of people will benefit from the BLU-U® Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy Illuminator at Contour Dermatology – those with pre-cancerous actinic keratoses and people with acne. Blue light therapy also has been shown to help patients with rosacea and sebaceous hyperplasia (enlarged sebaceous glands). While it does emit light, the blue light illuminator is not considered a laser. Lasers deliver light as coherent beams, while the BLU-U delivers incoherent light scattered over a larger area.

Blue Light Can Treat Face and Body

“We can treat all areas of the body with the blue light – hands, arms, legs, back, chest and scalp,” says Contour Dermatology Esthetician Anne Marie Johnson who received special training on this device from DUSA, the manufacturer.

Treatment of actinic keratoses (AK) patients also involves the addition of Levulan. This light-sensitizing agent is applied prior to therapy and the resulting photo sensitivity does not wear off for two days. As regular sunscreen will not offer protection during this time, it is imperative patients stay out of direct sunlight for the first 48 hours – a minor inconvenience for the benefit of having a pre-cancerous lesion treated.

Treatment Takes Just 16:40

Esthetician Anne Marie Johnson performs a blue light therapy treatment on a patient.

Esthetician Anne Marie Johnson performs a blue light therapy treatment on a patient.

For AK patients, the actual blue light therapy itself takes just 16 minutes and 40 seconds or less. An odd timeframe you might think, but this is the exact maximum amount of time that researchers have determined offers optimal results without damaging healthy tissue when Levulan is used. However, the entire patient visit does take longer as Levulan must incubate on the skin prior to the light therapy. Incubation time begins at one hour and varies depending on the body part being treated.

Blue Light with Levulan Delivers 90% Cure Rate for Actinic Keratoses

“Levulan attaches only to damaged cells when the blue light is applied and those cells are then destroyed,” explains Johnson.  “For AK patients it usually takes two treatments and there is a 90 percent cure rate.”

She also noted that blue light therapy not only reduces the precancerous portion of the skin, but also helps cosmetically to reduce scaly skin and anything that’s associated as a side effect from a precancerous lesion.

Blue light therapy is a welcome option for patients who cannot tolerate topical anti-cancer creams,” says Johnson.

Blue Light for Acne Patients

“Blue light therapy helps reduce inflammation, strengthens sebaceous glands and it kills bacteria which is the primary cause of acne,” states Johnson.

Patients with mild to moderate acne may experience blue light treatments directly without the addition of Levulan. Levulan may be considered for more severe acne. Patients will start to notice a difference within one to two days following treatment. For treatments without Levulan, no extra precautions are needed for sun protection beyond sunscreen

Insurance Covers AK Blue Light Visits

Treatment of actinic keratoses is typically covered by insurance. For acne treatment, Contour Dermatology offers special student rates. Acne patients will need several treatments to achieve results. Acne treatments may be as frequent as twice a week.  For treatments with Levulan, the spacing is one month apart. To find out if blue light therapy could benefit you, please call Contour Dermatology at (760) 423-4000 to schedule a consultation.

BLU-U® Blue Light Therapy Q&A

Is the BLU-U® a laser?

No, the BLU-U is not a laser. Lasers deliver light as coherent beams, while the BLU-U delivers incoherent light scattered over a larger area.

What does the BLU-U® treat?

The BLU-U helps manage skin conditions such as actinic keratosis and acne.

What is BLU-U® with Levulan?

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a special treatment performed with a topical photo sensitizing medication called Levulan™ activated with high intensity blue light. This treatment targets oil glands by shrinking them – minimizing pores and effectively treating stubborn acne and Rosacea. It reduces redness and inflammatory acne. It does not treat comedones, white and black heads. We recommend facials with extractions to address this precursor condition to acne. We most commonly use BLU-U with Levulan to reduce pre-cancerous lesions called actinic keratoses.

What can I expect during the treatment?

Levulan™ is applied topically to the whole area to be treated and is left on for about 60 minutes. Then the patient is seated in front of a BLU-U™ light box for up to 16 minutes and 40 seconds. BLU-U™ Levulan™ acne treatments also can be performed on the chest and back, hands and more.

What can I expect after the treatment?

You must avoid sun exposure for 48 hours following treatment as sunscreen is not effective during this time due to the photosensitive medication used. Diligently wear sunscreen after this initial period. All skin care products used during your treatment process should be approved by the physician/provider you are seeing.

Is BLU-U® Levulan safe?

Levulan™ is an FDA approved medication.