Blue Light Treatment

Photodynamic Therapy (Blue Light) to Help Skin Cancer Patients

Arsenault Dermatology is using blue-light (photodynamic) therapy to help skin cancer patients with actinic keratosis.

WHAT IS BLUE LIGHT THERAPY?

Blue Light Therapy, also called Blue Light Treatment or Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy, is a treatment performed by dermatologists and medical spas to combat pre-cancerous lesions that are called actinic keratosis. These lesions are typically found on areas of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun, including the head and arms.

WHAT IS IT FOR?

Blue Light Treatment is a solution for getting rid of actinic keratosis, or solar keratosis. This condition causes scaly bumps to grow on the skin, which have the potential to turn into a possibly fatal type of skin cancer. These growths are patches of thick, crusty or scaly skin. They are initially considered pre-cancerous, but untreated lesions can turn into squamous cell carcinoma, and it’s always recommended to have them treated by your dermatologist. These lesions are often felt before they are seen, and are most commonly found on the face, ears, necks, head, chest and arms. These are the areas most often over-exposed to the sun.

HOW DOES THE TREATMENT WORK?

Blue Light Treatment is a non-invasive procedure. Your dermatologist will apply a chemical solution to the affected areas, and subsequently expose that same area to blue light. The reaction from the chemicals, oxygen and the blue light is what destroys the precancerous or cancerous skin cells. Your actual treatment will typically involve two visits — one for the initial screening and diagnosis, followed by your actual treatment appointment. Once the solution is applied to your skin, you’ll allow it to absorb for an hour, and then you’ll do the blue light exposure for just under 20 minutes. It’s a quick and easy procedure.

ARE THERE ANY RISKS?

The largest risk associated with blue light therapy appears to be the temporary increased sensitivity to sunlight and sunburn for the first 48 hours after treatment. Because the chemical solution used is light-sensitizing, it’s important to wear sunscreen and sun-protective clothing, and avoid direct exposure during this time period.

DOES IT HURT?

Because this is a non-invasive procedure, it’s essentially painless and most patients find it completely comfortable. The treated lesions will heal in about one week. Other types of treatment like cryotherapy, topical chemotherapy, and laser resurfacing are known to be significantly more uncomfortable, making blue light therapy a great option to treat skin cancer, or to act as a preventive treatment and remove actinic keratosis.

To find out if Blue Light Therapy can help you, please contact Arsenault Dermatology for an initial examination. You may request an appointment online or call us at 941-907-0222.