Photodynamic therapy is relatively new procedure used for the treatment of acne or pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions.
It works on the principle that those cells that cause the above problems are metabolically more active and produce large amounts of a substance called porphyrins. These porphyrins are sensitive to certain types of light, and when exposed to light can produce toxic oxygen free radicals which destroy cells in the very nearby vicinity. Because these oxygen free radicals do not actually traverse far, they are very specific to the cells that create the porphyrins, hence it is possible to specifically target the problem cells without damaging normal ones.
To stimulate cells to produce more porphyrins, we often add a substrate called 5-ALA which is a precursor to the porphyrins.
At The Victorian Cosmetic Institute, in conjunction with Rofin Australia have helped with the design of a new LED light source for photodynamic therapy. It will have two wavelengths for different skin penetrations and applications. As seen in the picture, it has 6 heads, all aimed at different parts of the face to ensure even coverage.