Dr. Liao likes her patients to be informed consumers and encourages them to learn as much about these procedures as possible.



What is Photodynamic Therapy?
Photodynamic Therapy is the use of light (Blu-U), and a light-sensitizing agent (Aminolevulinic Acid 20%, or ALA). ALA is a natural photosensitizing agent that our own bodies produce when we make hemoglobin.

The Blu-U light emits wavelengths of 420nm. This light is not a visible light and it does not burn the skin. It does kill the P. acnes (the bacteria that causes Acne). The Blu-U light can be used by itself to help. Acne patients, however, these light treatments must be done twice weekly for 20 - 30 minutes each time. Acne patients may require 8 to 10 Blu-U treatments for improvement.

With the addition of ALA to the Blu-U light, we can achieve a more effective result. The ALA goes down to the level of the oil gland and in conjunction with the Blu-U light, it will help to kill off the bacteria as well as shrink the oil gland.

What is Photodynamic Therapy used to treat?
Photodynamic Therapy is used for the treatment of skin problems such as Acne and Acne Scarring, Actinic Keratosis (pre-cancerous lesions), Sebaceous Adenoma (small yellow bumps containing sweat glands), oily skin, and Photoaging skin (sun damaged skin).

How is this treatment performed?
ALA (which is a clear liquid solution) is applied to clean, washed skin. The patient incubates for a period of 2 - 3 hours. (The incubation period may differ between patients, depending on the specific problem to be treated.) After incubation, the patient sits under the Blu-U light for 30 minutes. In conclusion, the medication will be completely washed off and sunblock will be applied (minimum of SPF60).

Is Photodynamic Therapy painful and what can I expect post-treatment?
Post-therapy, the skin will be red and may have some swelling, burning and some discomfort similar to a sunburn. Ice packs may be used for any discomfort. The skin must be covered for a minimum of 24 hours following treatment. Physical sunblock (eg. Vichy SPF 60, or La Roche Posay AntiHelios cream SPF 60) must be used and the patient is to stay indoors. Any small amount of exposure to sunlight, even if it is a cloudy or rainy day, will cause burns to the skin.

Dark spots may darken, sun-damaged areas will react more, and some areas that used to look normal may react as well, because of early sun damage that is not visible with the naked eye.

Peeling may last for a few to several days and there may be redness, depending on how exuberant the response. (It is imperative that you DO NOT PICK - allow the skin to flake off on its own.)

How many treatments are required?
One treatment of Photodynamic Therapy (Blu-U + ALA) consists of 2 sessions, and this should be sufficient. These sessions should be booked 2 - 3 weeks apart for the treatment of Acne, or 2 - 4 weeks apart for the treatment of Actinic Keratosis or rejuvenation.



ACNE COMBINATION THERAPY (4 treatment sessions)

What is Acne and what causes it?


The surface of our skin has lots of small sebaceous glands just below the surface. These glands produce an oily substance called sebum that keeps the skin smooth and supple. Tiny pores allow the sebum to come to the skin’s surface. Fine hairs also grow through these pores.

Acne is caused by the over activity of these sebaceous glands that secrete oily substances onto the skin.


The sebaceous glands in people with Acne are especially sensitive to testosterone. Testosterone in people who are prone to Acne triggers the sebaceous glands to produce an excess amount of sebum. At the same time, the dead skin cells lining the openings of the hair follicles do not shed properly, and end up clogging the follicles.

These two effects combined cause a build-up of oil in the hair follicles. This causes blackheads and whiteheads to form. For some people, their Acne does not progress beyond this stage. However, in others, the build-up of oil in the hair follicles creates an ideal environment for a bacterium called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) to grow. These bacteria normally live harmlessly on your skin, but when this ideal environment is created, they grow.

In more severe ‘inflammatory Acne’, cysts develop beneath the skin’s surface. These Acne cysts can rupture, spreading the infection to nearby skin tissue. This can result in scarring.


Treatment
Dr. Liao offers a combination therapy for patients with Acne and Acne scarring. This therapy consists of Microdermabrasion and Blu-U Light Treatment. These two therapies, in conjunction, produce the following results:

  • Blu-U light helps to destroy the P. Acnes bacterium
  • Microdermabrasion removes the top layer of dead skin, while stimulating the production of new cells in the basal (deepest) layer of the dermis

Blu-U Light
Blu-U light is a relatively new treatment available that does not depend on medication. The Blu-U is a high intensity enhanced light source that permeates the tissue and destroys the P. Acnes bacterium that causes Acne, quickly and easily.

It only affects the P. Acnes bacterium, not the normal tissue. There are no side effects, no downtime, no pain, and without the use of antibiotics.

Microdermabrasion
Microdermabrasion is a mini-procedure used to rejuvenate the skin, lessen the signs of scarring, and the effects of Acne. The procedure is a gentle ‘sandblasting’ of the skin using air-driven crystals that removes the top epidermal layer of the skin.

As this Microdermabrasion brushes away the damaged cell layers, it also stimulates the skin’s production of collagen and helps to maintain the elastin, which will result in a firmer, smoother, more youthful looking skin over time. Microdermabrasion is a subtle procedure that softens the problem areas of the skin.

How many treatments will I need?
Dr. Liao normally recommends a package of 4 treatments (1 treatment consists of 1 Microdermabrasion followed by the Blu-U light treatment). The package of 4 would help to achieve optimal results. As well, depending on the severity of the Acne, this could also be used in conjunction with topical and/or oral medications.

Do I need a referral?
Yes, Acne patients will require a referral from their family physician to see Dr. Liao. We will be happy to help you resolve your Acne problems.



ACNE COMBINATION THERAPY (4 sessions)

Dr. Liao offers a combination therapy for patients with Acne and Acne scarring. This therapy consists of Microdermabrasion, Blu-U Light, and Violet Laser Treatment. These three therapies, in conjunction, produce the following results:

  • Microdermabrasion removes the top layer of dead skin, while stimulating the production of new cells in the basal (deepest) layer of the dermis;
  • Blu-U light helps to destroy the P. Acnes bacterium; and
  • Violet laser helps to shrink the oil glands.


Microdermabrasion
Microdermabrasion is a mini-procedure used to rejuvenate the skin, lessen the signs of scarring, and the effects of Acne. Our microdermabrasion skin care equipmemt uses a hand piece to gently vacuum crystals onto the surface of the skin and resurface the superficial layers of the skin. As the crystals contact the skin, they remove old, dead, and flaking skin cells and exfoliates and polishes the skin beneath.

Microdermabrasion helps to rejuvenate skin by removing the dull, lifeless, sun-damaged epidermis while stimulating the production of new skin cells and collagen. It smoothes the skin and gives it a great glow so that it looks more youthful. Microdermabrasion is a subtle procedure that softens the problem areas of the skin.


Blu-U Light
Blu-U light is a relatively new treatment available that does not depend on medication. The Blu-U is a high intensity enhanced light source (wavelengths of 410nm) that permeates the tissue and destroys the P. Acnes bacterium that causes Acne, quickly and easily.

It only affects the P. Acnes bacterium, not the normal tissue. There are no side effects, no downtime, no pain, and without the use of antibiotics.

Violet Laser
The Lux V (Violet) laser is a combination of light intensity, violet blue light (emitting wavelengths of 410nm) and red light (emitting wavelengths greater than 650nm). The Violet laser helps to shrink the oil gland, thus making the skin less oily. It is a faster treatment than oral or topical antibiotics.

How many treatments will I need?
Dr. Liao normally recommends a package of 4 treatments (1 treatment consists of 1 Microdermabrasion followed by the Blu-U light and Violet laser treatment). The package of 4 would help to achieve optimal results. As well, depending on the severity of the Acne, this could also be used in conjunction with topical and/or oral medications.

Do I need a referral?
Yes, Acne patients will require a referral from their family physician to see Dr. Liao. We will be happy to help you resolve your Acne problems.

 
 
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Dermatology & Hair Transplant Centre 11516 Jasper Avenue Edmonton AB T5K 0M8
Phone: (780) 482-1548 • Email: dr.j.liao@gmail.com