Blu-U® Light Therapy For Acne and Actinic Keratoses
Blu-U Light Therapy can treat acne and sun-damaged precancerous spots called actinic keratoses. The Blu-U light is a narrow-band blue light. Blu-U treatment for acne requires eight fifteen-minute appointments spaced over a few weeks. Treatment for actinic keratoses calls for two appointments separated by approximately a month’s time.
Blu-U treats acne by killing the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria responsible for causing acne. The blue light activates a light-sensitive chemical naturally produced by the P. acnes bacteria called a porphyrin. This process kills only the acne-causing bacteria and does not harm your skin. Blu-U can be used in conjunction with your acne regimen.
Actnic Keratosis Treatment
Blu-U is used to treat actinic keratoses as a part of a process called Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), in which actinic keratoses are subjected to a combination of Blu-U Light and a topical medication called Levulan Kerastick®. It is common to treat isolated lesions with liquid nitrogen, but when multiple actinic keratoses are present, it is often better to treat the entire affected area with Photodynamic Therapy. Levulan (Aminolevulinic acid 20 percent) is a naturally occurring photosensitizing compound that is FDA-approved to treat actinic keratoses. Levulan is applied to the skin for about an hour and subsequently “activated” by the blue light.
To begin a Blu-U treatment for acne, the face is first cleansed. Then, the patient puts on protective goggles and sits close to the light for about 15 minutes, once or twice per week for a total of eight sessions. The process is quick, easy and neither hot nor painful. The blue light only destroys the P. acnes bacteria, leaving the normal tissue intact. Some patients experience improvement in their acne for several months. The treatments must be maintained to keep the results, and the number of treatments required depends on the severity of the acne. Blu-U treatment is generally done in conjunction with other acne treatments such as topical medication.
Actinic Keratosis Treatment
First Levulan is applied and left on the skin for about an hour, then the Blu light is administered for 10-16 minutes. You may experience some burning or stinging during treatment. It is important to keep the treated area protected from light for 48 hours. Most patients experience skin redness, flaking and some swelling for a few days after treatment. Generally two treatments are done at about a month apart.
This therapy can be used on patients with all skin types who are suffering from actinic keratoses or acne. It is not available for patients who have:
- Skin sensitivity to blue light.
- Porphyria (a disorder of the blood that can lead to sensitivity to light).
- Allergies to porphyrins chemicals.
If you have any of these conditions, please inform Dr. Zimmet during your consultation.