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faq's - ala/pdt

What is ALA/PDT?
ALA/PDT is a treatment that combines Light Therapy with a photosensitising solution to improve sun damage, pre-cancerous cells (actinic keratosis), severe acne, numerous viral warts and sebaceous hyperplasia in a non-invasive, cosmetically enhancing way.

The photosensitising solution is 20% aminolevulinic acid (ALA). This is applied to the surface of the skin to be treated, where it is absorbed preferentially by abnormal or pre-cancerous skin cells as well as oil glands and pores, making these more sensitive to laser or light.

Following a predetermined period of having the ALA on the skin, the light therapy is used to activate the solution. This combination therapy leads to a destruction or reduction of abnormal cells and excessive oil gland cells and results in healthier, smoother and clearer skin. By applying ALA before the light therapy treatment, we can selectively target the cells we want to damage or destroy, leaving the others surrounding it intact and without harm. This treatment kills off pre-cancerous or sun damaged cells, as well as reduces oil gland cell numbers, and reducing the size of the glands.

After the treatment one must avoid sunlight and other intense light sources completely for 48 hours. The majority of people will have mild redness and minimal discomfort but about 5% will experience "sunburn" like reaction in which they are uncomfortable for 24-48 hours and the skin looks red and tender, and peels for 2-5 days.

Less than 1% experiences a very severe reaction resulting in redness and peeling for 1 week and very rarely longer. This usually happens when there is severe sun damage with multiple actinic keratoses present.
Complete healing does take place even in these cases and no scarring has been reported. Avoidance of this reaction can be greatly enhanced by COMPLETELY AVOIDING ANY SUNLIGHT FOR 48 HOURS. If any exposure is necessary, cover up with scarves, hats and thickly applying zinc oxide to the treated area is advised.

A Post ALA/PDT lotion is blended for you at our local pharmacy, and must be applied often until the skin has healed completely. Do not expose the area to sunlight even briefly during this time. You may resume your normal skin care after the peeling stops or immediately if there is no peeling. Make-up may be applied immediately after your treatment.

What are the costs involved?
The cost depends on the size of the area treated. The ALA is from R250 and the PDT from R600 upwards. This can be submitted to medical aid but is not submitted by Winelands Aesthetic, Medical & Dental.

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