Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) information

Before your treatment

Tell your doctor or nurse if you:

  • Take any medications, supplements or vitamins
  • Have or have ever had cold sores or shingles
  • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • Have a condition that makes you more sensitive to light, including lupus or porphyria

The day of your treatment

  • Don’t use creams, lotions, or makeup on the treatment area.
  • Bring something to protect the treatment area from UV rays. If the treatment area is on your face, bring a wide-brimmed hat. If it isn’t on your face, wear clothing that covers the area.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothes

During your treatment

  • A medication will be applied to the treatment area. This will typically take between 30-60 minutes to be absorbed.
  • A blue light will be shined on the treatment area for about 17 minutes. This will activate the medication.
  • You may experience burning or stinging pain during treatment.


After Your Treatment

  • For 48 hours after your treatment, don’t expose the treated area to bright light. This includes: sunlight (even through car winodws), bright indoor lights (such as medical exam lights). Normal house lighting is okay.  If it’s necessary to be outside, make sure to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 and above, a wide brimmed hat and/or sun protective clothing. 
  • For a few days, you may experience: redness (like a bad sunburn), swelling, peeling, crusting, mild itching. The burning and stinging you experienced during treatment may last for up to 24 hours. 
  • Follow these steps to care for the treated area: Apply a cool compress to the a few times a day for the first 24 hours. Starting the day after your treatment, use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser to clean the treated area. Use a clean towel to pat your skin dry, do not rub or scrub.  Apply a thick moisturizer, such as Cetaphil or Vaseline, to the area to keep your skin moist. If a scab forms, apply Vaseline to it (do not pick it off). 
  • We recommend Tylenol or ibuprofen for pain.


Call our office if you:

  • Have a temperature of 100.4 °F (38 °C) or higher
  • Have pain not controlled by Tylenol or ibuprofen
  • Develop blisters on the treated area
  • Have any questions or unexpected problems