BLU-U® Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy

Esthetic Services

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

BLU-U® Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy

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

Esthetic Services

What is Photodynamic Therapy?

Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy is the use of light-activated medications which produce single 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.

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 can I expect during the treatment?

Levulan™ is applied topically to the whole area to be treated and is left on for about 30 to 60 minutes, possibly earlier. Then you’re seated in front of a BLU-U™ light box for up to 16 minutes. BLU-U™ Levulan™ acne treatments also can be performed on chests, and backs.

What can I expect after the treatment?

You must avoid sun exposure for 48 hours following treatment and wear sunscreen, all skin care products should be approved by the physician/provider you are seeing.

Is BLU-U® Levulan safe?

Levulan™ is an FDA approved medication.

Step into the Light

Two key groups of people will benefit from the BLU-U® Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy Illuminator at Contour Dermatology recently – 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 All Areas

“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 photosensitivity 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 removed.

Treatment Takes Just 16:40

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.

Incubation time begins at one hour and varies depending on the body part being treated.

In AK Patients, Blue Light with Levulan Delivers 90% Cure Rate

“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 gets rid of 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 patients 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.

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.

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author avatar
Dr. Timothy Jochen Medical Director, Contour Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery Center
Dr. Jochen specializes in Mohs Surgery for skin cancer removal, facial rejuvenation including cosmetic laser technology, Botox® and facial fillers, soft tissue augmentation, leg and facial vein treatment, tumescent liposuction and hair restoration/transplants.
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