Silicon Valley Dermatology

Mychael Luu, M.D.

General & Surgical Dermatology located in San Jose, CA

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) or light therapy is gaining in popularity as a treatment for a range of medical conditions thanks to its precision and effectiveness. These features make it a particularly successful treatment for cancer and acne. The team at Silicon Valley Dermatology, led by Mychael Luu, MD, offers photodynamic therapy to people seeking minimally invasive cancer and acne treatment in and around San Jose, California. Find out more about this state-of-the-art treatment or schedule a consultation by calling the practice or requesting an appointment through this website.


What is photodynamic therapy (PDT)?

Photodynamic therapy (PDT), sometimes referred to as blue-light therapy, combines light energy and a topical photosensitizer drug to effectively target and destroy abnormal, potentially cancerous cells. It can also destroy acne activity and reduce the appearance of older acne scars.

The photosensitizer solution is harmless until it becomes activated by the light source, at which point it becomes toxic, destroying the abnormal cells below it.

PDT is advanced skin cancer and acne treatment. Find out more today by reaching out to your provider at Silicon Valley Dermatology.

What are the benefits of PDT?

PDT is becoming an increasingly popular cancer and acne treatment because of the benefits it offers, including:

  • Minimal scarring
  • Cheaper compared to other treatments
  • Minimally invasive
  • Precise
  • Short treatment duration
  • Can be repeated

Your provider at Silicon Valley Dermatology is happy to talk you through the pros and cons of PDT and discuss whether it's suitable for you.

What can I expect during my PDT session?

PDT is a three-step process that involves application, incubation, and light exposure.


Your provider applies a photosynthesizing cream or liquid to the area being treated.


The cells need time to absorb the photosynthesizing substance. For a mild to moderate condition, this may take 2-3 hours. For more severe conditions, it could take 3-4 hours. You can either sit in the doctor's office while you wait or, if you live close by, you may be allowed to go home and wait at home. 

Light exposure

Light therapy involves shining a blue fluorescent light onto the treatment area. The photosensitized cells absorb the light's energy, killing the abnormal cells while leaving the healthy cells undamaged. 

Some people report a tingling or even a mild stinging or burning sensation while the light is on them. This feeling is perfectly normal, but if it becomes unpleasant, your provider can turn the light off briefly. You can discuss with your provider beforehand about having a local anesthetic to numb the area if you have concerns.

After your treatment, you should avoid sun or UV exposure for 48 hours. Your treatment area will scab over and heal entirely in around three weeks. If your treatment area is considerable or your condition severe, you may have to return for a follow-up treatment.

Schedule a photodynamic therapy consultation at Silicon Valley Dermatology today — call or inquire online.